“[Orange Is The New Black] is impossible to put down because she could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.” —Los Angeles Times
“[The Mars Room is] a major novel, a sustained performance, one that broods on several exigent ideas.” —The New York Times
Piper Kerman got mixed up in a drug trafficking and money laundering operation soon after graduating from college in 1992. She moved to San Francisco to start a new life, but in 2003 she was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for her past crimes. There she experienced firsthand the deep injustice undergirding the criminal justice system—particularly as related to people of color—as well as the resilient community of incarcerated women. Her experiences behind bars inspired the 2010 bestselling memoir, Orange Is the New Black, which was later turned into the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series of the same name. Since her release, Kerman has been a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform. Kerman and Kushner will discuss the challenges faced by incarcerated women and the very serious need for prison reform in America.
Rachel Kushner is among America’s most exciting writers. Her novels and essays explore contemporary art, culture, revolutionary politics, modernism and feminism with unmatched wisdom and grace. Her most recent work, The Mars Room, is an intense, unforgettable and heartbreaking story set in a California women’s prison. The novel delivers a necessary critique of the judicial system and an attack on the prison- industrial complex. Kushner has crafted a holistic depiction of who gets wrapped up in incarceration—families, lawyers, police and prisoners—written with a skilled voice that is filled with pathos, love and humanity.
Funds provided by the George C. Perkins Fund.