Recently, the Seattle Times published an article called Writer’s World: Life Behind Bars. Journalist Jonathan Martin writes about Arthur Longworth, his life-long prison sentence (with many visits to solitary confinement), and his journey to becoming a writer.
Longworth became a writer at the age of 40, about 20 years after his entry into prison. In the article, he discribes his writing as “an effort to survive in an unforgiving environment.”
Why does Longworth write? In an interview with the “Inside” Prison Writing Blog, he says:
Other writers who have gone through similar experiences and recorded them. It may be wishful thinking, but I believe that at some point in the future Americans will look back at this time (when so many of their fellow citizens were locked away in prisons, many of them sent there before they were even fully adults and sentenced to spend their entire lives there) and consider it a dark age. When that happens, I want my writing to be there (and the writing of others like me) so people don’t forget and allow this to happen again.
As a University Behind Bars student, Longworth is featured in this video:
Finding Lonworth’s writings:
Longworth’s short stories Wala Wala IMU and The Hole can be read through the PEN American Center. Both works have been given awards by PEN.
Here is a link to Longworth’s published work The Prison Diary of Arthur Longworth via WorldCat (there is only three libraries with the book).