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Doran Larson

Doran Larson, the Edward North Chair of Greek and Greek Literature and Professor of Literature and Creative Writing, presented a paper during the inaugural Rise Up: A Conference to Liberate Higher Education During and After Prison conference. The presentation was made on the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Attica Prison rebellion.

Joining him in a virtual discussion of “Higher Education at Attica” was a former writing workshop member and graduate of the college program Larson organized at the maximum security prison now known as Attica Correctional Facility.

Long an advocate of educating the incarcerated, Larson is the founder of the American Prison Writing Archive (APWA). Part of the Digital Humanities Initiative, the project features more than 2,100 first-person essays submitted by incarcerated individuals and prison staff. The APWA grew from Larson’s 2014 book titled Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America.

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In “Why Colleges Should Take a Chance on Me,” writer John J Lennon, a contributing editor for Esquire magazine, pointed to Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Doran Larson as the man to whom he owed his career. Lennon, who is incarcerated in New York’s Sullivan Correctional Facility, wrote about Larson’s Attica Prison-based writing workshop and its impact.

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Words From Behind the Wall

When he was an English major at Hamilton, Matthew Hennigar ’14 spent a year reading essays written by prison inmates from around the country. Professor Doran Larson, had put out the word he was looing for inmate writings for a new digital archive based at the College, and Hennigar was assisting him on the project.

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