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Reading Groups

NEA Big Read: Criminal Justice in Fiction with Jennifer Baker

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5 Sessions via Zoom Sundays, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT February 28 to June 27, 2021

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 15% discount.

Meeting Dates:
2/28, 3/28, 4/25, 5/23, 6/27

Whether presented explicitly or metaphorically, social justice themes in art (i.e., ableism, poverty, capitalism, race-based legislation/racism) continue to depict myriad experiences and perspectives for the privileges (or lack thereof) afforded. Taking cues from Ernest Gaines’ much lauded A Lesson Before Dying, along with other works of fiction and nonfiction, will inspire monthly discussions around the U.S. carceral state. In this reading group we will collectively explore how writers probe the personal and societal effects of the prison industrial complex along with interpretations of justice, depicted legislation, and what makes a social justice narrative.


Led by

  • Jenn Baker_Credit Gaby Deimeke 2

    Jennifer Baker

    Jennifer Baker

    Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor to Electric Literature. In 2017, she was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship & a Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant (as well as their award for Artistic Excellence) for nonfiction literature. Her essay “What We Aren’t (or the Ongoing Divide)” published in Kweli Journal was listed as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2018. Jennifer is also the editor of the short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life with Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (2018).