An Evening With Reginald Dwayne Betts
Reginald Dwayne Betts’s memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was awarded an NAACP Image Award. His first collection of poems, Shahid Reads His Own Palm, won the Beatrice Hawley Award. His latest collection, Bastards of the Reagan Era (published by Four Way Books in 2015), was named one of the best poetry books of 2015 by Library Journal and shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. A recent Huffington Post review notes, “Bastards of the Reagan Era might save lives. James Baldwin and Richard Wright would welcome it into the field of African American literature.” Dwayne began his writing life at the age of sixteen, after pleading guilty to carjacking and being sentenced to nine years in prison. He imagined that words would bring hope and solace—qualities he could not find within the walls of a prison. Over the past decade, Dwayne has advocated for the reform of the criminal justice system. As the National Spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice, he has worked on state and national legislative reform issues. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Dwayne to serve as a Practitioner Member of the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He is currently a third year student at Yale Law School.
The Telling Room’s Super Famous Writers Series offers community events that bring contemporary working writers to Portland to give public readings and meet with our students and the community at large. At The Telling Room, writers are our heroes. For those of us who love the writing life, writers are super heroic, super amazing, and super famous. Please join us for this incredible evening to hear Betts read from his recent books and speak about the importance of writing as a life-changing tool for self-expression, which is the heart of all our free writing programs for kids.