Photos of Caits Meissner and Nicole Shawan Junior

PEN America: The Sentences That Create Us

Editor Caits Meissner and contributor Nicole Shawan Junior of PEN America will be interviewed by The Liberation Library’s Alicia Brown about The Sentences That Create Us.

Caits Meissner and Nicole Shawan Junior will be signing books at 11 AM

About The Sentences That Create Us:

A road map for incarcerated people and their allies to have a thriving writing life behind bars—and shared beyond the walls—that draws on the unique insights of more than fifty contributors, most themselves justice-involved, to offer advice, inspiration and resources.

About the speakers:

Caits Meissner is the director of Prison and Justice Writing at PEN America. She has taught, consulted, and co-created extensively for over 15 years across a wide spectrum of communities with a focus on prisons, public schools, and college classrooms at The New School and The City College of New York. In 2017, Meissner re-envisioned the concept of book tour for her illustrated poetry collection Let It Die Hungry, pairing public speaking engagements with opportunities to work with incarcerated writers across the United States.

Nicole Shawan Junior (they/them) is the Deputy Director of Prison and Justice Writing at PEN America. They founded Roots. Wounds. Words., an organization that provides BIPOC-led and -centered literary arts pedagogy, publication and performance opportunities. Nicole’s writing appears in The Sentences That Create Us, Guernica, The Rumpus, Gay Mag, ZORA, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. They have received residencies and fellowships from Hedgebrook, Tin House, PERIPLUS, NYFA, Lambda Literary, and many more. They served as editor-in-chief of Black Femme Collective and on the editorial teams at Women’s Studies Quarterly of the Feminist Press and SLICE Magazine.

Alicia Brown is a restorative justice practitioner, circle keeper, and abolitionist. She enjoys writing and was recently published in the Envisioning Justice Curricular Concepts Resource Guide, Incarcerated Mothers: Illinois Humanities (2019). Additionally, she performs pieces that she has written. Alicia is a proud mother of four beautiful children, and she strives to make the world a better place for them.

Liberation Library provides books to youth in prison to encourage literacy, imagination, self-determination, and connection to outside worlds of their choosing. Liberation Library believes access to books is a right, not a privilege, and that books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal legal system.

The event is finished.


May 15 2022


1:00 pm - 1:50 pm


G.A.R. Hall
Chicago Cultural Center


1:00 pm Central

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content