Tonight, cool down inside the pretty Poe Room at the Central Enoch Pratt and catch a rousing literary reading from members of Writing Outside the Fence, an ex-offender and general community writing workshop, free to all participants, that meets weekly at the Reentry Center in the Mondawmin Mall (Tuesday evenings, 410 523-1060).
Launched in spring of 2006 by the ebullient Lucy Bucknell, who teaches in the film and media program at Hopkins, Writing Outside the Fence began as a course populated mainly by former prisoners but quickly morphed into a diverse community writing workshop and salon, for anyone who likes to write. Spirited (and often talented) students attend session after session because they have stories and poems to put down on paper, some rooted in gritty, real-world experience, others pure imagination. Staffed by volunteers from Coppin State, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, MICA, & elsewhere, the workshop celebrates its five-year anniversary this month.

“I’m not sure how the program has lasted so long, to be honest,” Bucknell says. “Remarkable people keep walking in the door, participants and instructors both, such funny, wise, and generous writers. Some of those reading have been attending for the full five years. My life is immeasurably richer with them in it.  I think many instructors feel that way… And maybe some writers feel the same–I hope so.”

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Writing Outside the Fence Ex-Offender & Community Writing Workshop Group Reading: Tuesday, May 31
The Poe Room
Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral St.
Free Admission