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Dear Friend,

For many years PEN has published a Handbook for Writers in Prison, which is sent free to any prisoner  who wants one. This year, we are facing a budget  challenge and must raise $20,000 in order to receive a  $20,000 matching grant that has already been pledged.  So far we have raised $7,000 toward that goal. Next  year that grant will be phased out entirely.

Please help us to continue sending free copies of the  PEN Prison Writing Handbook to men and women  who are incarcerated.

Buy a raffle ticket to support the PEN Prison Writing  program and be in the running to win one of 8 big  prizes. Total prize pool is more than $3,000!! HUGE  THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SO GENEROUSLY DONATED SUCH  AMAZING PRIZES!!!!!

$5 for 1
$10 for 3
Buy more tickets for more chances to win!


First Prize: Four-session graduate class in Narrative Form at The New School. Nov. 7th &
14th, Dec. 5th & 12th. 6-8:30pm. Value: $1000

Second Prize: Adult education writing class at The New School. Funding provided by the  University Diversity Initiative. Value: $525

Third Prize: Writing workshop at Media Bistro. Value: $499  Fourth Prize: Four New York Review of Books Classics. Value: $200

Fifth Prize: Twenty yoga classes at Area Yoga. Value: $200

Sixth Prize: Dinner for six (one drink and one entree per person) at Habana Outpost.  Value: $150

Seventh Prize: Seven-book package from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Value: $150

Eighth Prize: One-year (20 issues) subscription from The New York Review of Books  including special issues for Spring Books, Fall Books, Summer Fiction and Holiday Books. Newsstand Value: $110

It's easy to buy tickets: tell me how many you want, I'll fill them out in your name, and put  them in the hat for the draw on October 6. You send us a check made out to PEN Prison  Writing Program. 588 Broadway, Suite 302, New York, NY 10011

Or you can e-mail and order directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it In your message, please  mention the number of tickets you'd like to purchase, your full name, your mailing address,  and your telephone number. You will receive e-mail confirmation back and the paper tickets  will be mailed to you.

The raffle will be drawn on Monday, October 6th. Winners will be notified by phone and  email.


The PEN Prison Writing program has 3 core projects. Each year we:

1. Publish and send 8,000 copies of our Handbook for Writers in Prison to any incarcerated  person who requests one. (Printing and postage to support the Handbook are the biggest  slice of our budget.)

2. Sponsor an annual writing contest receiving 1,500 entries from prisoners around the  country.

3. Provide one-on-one mentoring for a 100 writers in prison whose work showed strength in  the writing contest.  We also each year seek to get inmates' work to the public through literary publications and  readings; we also explore issues of prisoner advocacy, and we collaborate with the Anne  Frank Center, USA in support of their Prison Diary Project.
Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative and  rehabilitative power of writing and provides an open place for inmates to express  themselves freely with paper and pen and to encourage the use of the written word as a  legitimate form of power.


1. Writing is a skill that can be practiced. Unlike many skills, writing well is useful in  almost every avenue of employment, education and daily life.

2. Writing is a skill that generates other skills.

3. We support more educational programming, not less. (It is a well proven fact that  education reduces recidivism by high double-digit percentages. One influence that  eliminated Pell grants for prisoners in the early 1990s was envy and jealousy--from prison  guards and staff; we believe guards and other prison workers should be included in  educational grants and opportunities, adding substantial gain to jobs that have few self- improvement advantages.)

4. Men and women who are incarcerated should not come out worse than when they went  in.

5. The distortion of language that surrounds the prison industry should be challenged. For  example, the term "Correctional Facility" is used when there is little or no correction taking  place.

6. Improper punitive measure, including violence and rape, should not be fostered or  condoned, whether perpetrated by people serving sentences or guards and staff.

7. Warehousing and silencing any segment of a population is a bad, fear-based practice.

8. In order for Democracy to function it is important to hear from every segment of its  population even those disenfranchised by crime.

9. Citizens need to know that prison is a growth industry with conferences, advertising  and sales reps for products including billy clubs, cafeteria trays, toilets, and clothing.  Private outsourcing and contracting allow profits to grow only through the containment of  as many individuals as possible. If prison beds go empty, funding for prisons gets cut.

For more information, or to read the writing of men and women who are incarcerated, go to
Thank you for your time, effort and support.
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