A World Without Cages: A Book Drive to Launch AAWW’s Prison Initiative

with Victoria Law and Daniel A. Gross

Thursday, August 30, 2018 6:00pm
Asian American Writers' Workshop
112 W 27t St Suite 600
New York, NY 10001

Media Gallery

Come with book donations for incarcerated readers, leave with homemade bubble tea. We’re hosting a book drive in partnership with NYC Books Through Bars to mark the launch of A World Without Cages—AAWW’s new series of stories and workshops that bring together voices from jail, prison, and immigrant detention. Over the next year, we’ll invite Asian American writers to see incarceration as part of their story. If you're a writer or activist interested in getting involved, please come through!

Victoria Law, a co-founder of NYC BTB who has written about incarceration for more than a decade, will co-host the event with Daniel A. Gross, Prisons Editor at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. They’ll read letters from incarcerated readers and writers, and talk about new and pressing threats to freedom of expression behind bars.


Why donate books? Literature takes on special significance for incarcerated readers. Prisons and jails aren’t required to provide reading materials for the 2.2 million people behind bars in the US, which means that many thousands of readers rely on programs like Books Through Bars. “I read the last one in 3 days,” wrote one woman from an Oklahoma prison. “Just checked out from my prison world. Books can do that to me.” Robin Woods, who spent eighteen years in Maryland prisons, said in a 2005 letter: “While my body is here in prison, my mind has seen the world.”

The books we collect will be individually matched to readers in prisons across the country. We’re looking for new and gently-used paperbacks that fall within the genres below. (Books by Asian Americans are especially welcome!) We are also happy to accept cash donations for postage to US prisons. Please note that we can’t accept hardcovers, or books in other genres.

--Dictionaries in any language
--Quality works of US and world history
--Ethnic studies books
-- and detective fiction
--Comics and graphic novels

AAWW will continue to accept book donations for NYC Books Through Bars until Wednesday, September 5.

Victoria Law is a freelance journalist focusing on women’s incarceration and a co-founder of NYC Books Through Bars. She is also the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women and the editor of the zine Tenacious: Art & Writings by Women in Prison. Her forthcoming book, Your Home is Your Prison, will examine ways in which popular alternatives to incarceration widen the carceral net.

Daniel A. Gross is Prisons Editor at AAWW and a web writer for The New Yorker, where he often covers literature, culture, and criminal justice. He has reported on mass incarceration for The Guardian, Reveal, and CityLab, among others. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the BBC/PRI radio program “The World,” and contributed to podcasts like Studio 360, 99% Invisible, and Criminal.

*The space is wheelchair accessible. No stairs. Direct elevator from ground floor to 6th floor.
*We strongly encourage all participants of the space/event to be scent-free.
If you all have any other specific questions about accessibility, please email Tiffany Le at tle@aaww.org with any questions on reserving priority seating.

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