Union hosting authors of “Writing Our Way Out: Memoirs From Jail”

Union Presbyterian Seminary’s William Smith Morton Library will host a series of readings by the authors of “Writing Our Way Out: Memoirs From Jail,” a 2015 memoir of Dr. David Coogan‘s experience teaching 10 men to write their ways to freedom, beginning at the Richmond City Jail in 2006. The readings will take place April 4 at 7 p.m., 3406 Chamberlayne Avenue, Richmond, Virginia, and feature David Coogan, Naji Mujahid, Tony Martin, and Stanley Craddock, followed by Q&A and a reception with book-signing.

The stories in “Writing Our Way Out: Memoirs From Jail” explore racial conditions, economic traps, and turning points on the path to imprisonment in modern America, as well as the spiritual, political, and redemptive power of memoir. They emerged from Coogan’s work with over five dozen inmates at the Richmond City Jail, supported by Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Humanities and Sciences through its Student Engagement Program and Career Enhancement Scholarships.

Coogan is an associate professor of English and co-director of the Open Minds Program at VCU. He is also the author of Moving Students Into Social Movements: Prisoner Reentry and the Research Paper in “Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric of Social Movements,” Autobiography as Inquiry: Crafting and Ethical Code in Jail in “Working for Justice: A Handbook for Prison Teaching and Activism,” and the co-editor with John Ackerman of “The Public Work of Rhetoric: Citizen Scholars and Civic Engagement.”

An article on his work at the Richmond City Jail appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and he is currently working on a new book titled “Memoirs of Mass Incarceration: The Rhetoric of Revolutionaries, Witnesses and Survivors.”

More information about Coogan is available on his website.

Parking for the event is available on Melrose Avenue. See campus map for details.