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Incarcerated Writers Initiative Letter-Writing Event


Send a letter to an incarcerated writer: a small amount of time will make a meaningful difference. 

This year, for the second time, the Columbia Journal opened its annual submissions to incarcerated writers, allowing them to send their work by mail. We were helped in this effort by several organizations, including the PEN Prison Writing Program, and, to our delight, we received 236 submissions from writers in prisons around the country.

In order to deepen our ties to the prison-writing community, and to give these writers the responses they deserve, we are sending letters of response to each incarcerated writer who submitted work.

That’s where, we’re hoping, you come in.

This Friday, March 23rd, 4 - 8 PM in Dodge 413, we are asking all students in the Writing Program—first-year and second-year, Journal staff and members of the wider Columbia University community—to help us read submissions from incarcerated writers and compose letters of response, offering suggestions for how they can improve their work and, most important, offering words of inspiration and encouragement. The time commitment for you will be small, the benefit to the writers unimaginably large. Even writing one letter will make a difference. Please fill out this form if you are interested in joining this effort.

RSVP on Facebook here and share the event with your friends!

Questions? Email Columbia Journal Community Outreach Editor Lucas Gonzalez at