Category Archives: update

APBP Starts Book Club for Women Nov 14, 2014

The idea for the book club grew from a discussion at last spring’s Educational Justice and Appalachian Prisons Symposium, an event co-sponsored by the Appalachian Prison Book Project.

For the past 10 years, the community and West Virginia University-based nonprofit organization has received more than 20,000 letters from imprisoned people expressing how needed — and essential — reading is. Members have sent books to imprisoned men and women in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Now, the group’s organizers said, they are ready to do more. Read more at–

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Fall 2014 Book Sale

Wednesday, October 22nd, we will be holding a Book Sale! You can find us on the WVU campus in Colson Hall–the beautiful English department building–room 130 from 9am to 4pm.

Stop by and see us!

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The Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium, April 4th-6th

Contact: Professor Katy Ryan 304.293.9729

WVU Will Host Symposium on Educational Justice and Appalachian Prisons

A three-day symposium on Appalachian prisons, the importance of education, and restorative justice will take place at West Virginia University April 4-6. The Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium will include roundtables with imprisoned people, teachers inside prisons, corrections administrators, judges, law and humanities faculty, mediators, and members of prison book projects.

The main speakers are:

Rebecca Ginsburg.


A professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chicago, Dr. Ginsburg is the founder of the Education Justice Project, whose aim is to build a model college-in-prison program that demonstrates the positive impacts of higher education on incarcerated people, their families, and the communities from which they come. She will speak April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair.

Kyes Stevens.


A professor at Auburn University, Dr. Stevens is the founder of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, which is dedicated to bringing educational opportunities to imprisoned people in Alabama. She will speak April 5 at 11:30 a.m. in room 130 of Colson Hall.

Reginald Dwayne Betts.


A poet and memoirist, Betts is the award-winning author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison and the poetry collection Shahid Reads His Own Palm. In April of 2012, President Obama appointed Betts to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Other presenters at the symposium include:

  • Jean Trounstine, Co-Director of Changing Lives Through Literature and the author of Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women’s Prison.
  • Jim Rubenstein, Commissioner of the WV Division of Corrections.
  • Larry Starcher, former WV Supreme Court Justice.
  • Jim Nolan, WVU professor of Sociology, former police and FBI officer.
  • Valena Beety, WVU Assoc. Law Professor and Chair of the WVU InnocenceProject.
  • Anne Rice, African American Studies Professor, Lehman College, and Member of the Planning Committee for TEDx talks at Sing Sing prison.

A complete schedule and other information is available at the symposium’s Web site: 

Professors Katy Ryan and Mark Brazaitis, both of the WVU Department of English, received a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to create the symposium.

Professor Ryan explained,

“Planning for the symposium has already brought wonderful people into conversation about restorative justice, alternative sentences, and how to create greater justice in our region. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We are eager to learn from one another and see what we can put into place.”

She hopes that everyone with an interest in educational justice and the criminal justice system will attend.

“Prisons impact all of us—whether in terms of taxpayer money or incarcerated friends and family members or those who work inside crowded, unsafe prisons. We have to make connections between inside and out if we are going to begin to undo mass incarceration. Education is going to be key.”

Image credits: photo of Rebecca Ginsburg from University of Illinois College of Education site,, accessed 22 March 2014; photo of Kyes Stevens from the The Quilts of Gee’s Bend project site,, accessed 22 March 2014; photo of Reginald Dwayne Betts by Gesi Schilling via the Poetry Foundation site,, accessed 22 March 2014.

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#EJAPSymposium News on Twitter

The Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium website isn’t your only source for key information about the symposium; you can also find out more about it on Twitter. Search for tweets that have the hashtag #EJAPSymposium to discover all the symposium-related posts available in the Twitterverse.

Many #EJAPSymposium tweets will be posted by APBP through its Twitter handle@APBP_Morgantown. Follow @APBP_Morgantown to ensure you never miss any updates about the April event.

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APBP on Twitter

Some exciting news for this week: You can now follow APBP on Twitter! Stay tuned to @APBP_Morgantown‘s timeline for news about APBP and its awesome volunteers. We’ll also tweet updates about the upcoming Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium (as you can see below):

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Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium Website

We are happy to announce that the website for the Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium, coordinated by APBP, is now up and running!

Please visit the site,, to learn more about the event. It will be at the WVU downtown campus April 4th-6th. Remember: It’s free to attend the event–all parts of it!

The site will be updated as we move closer to the symposium.

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Appalachian Prison Book Project Promotional Video


Many thanks to Diana Mazzella for this video project, and to the “star,” Katy Ryan, for her ever-eloquent explanation of the project.

Produced by Diana Mazzella, featuring Katy Ryan.


14 December 2012 · 10:52 am