prison writing, pedagogy, teaching, National Novel Writing Month


Writers and students at Federal Correctional Institution-Elkton use low-tech strategies to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Prisoners reflect on the challenges and power of participating in an entirely prisoner-led event. Over the span of a six-week course, students earn programming credit by responding to prompts, working on their novels, and reporting word totals and goals. The author positions himself as a researcher, practitioner, scholar, and prisoner, who balanced the needs of good teaching and positive educational experiences with the realities of working in a prison as a prisoner.

Author Bio

Jason Kahler earned his PhD in Composition and Rhetoric from Wayne State University. He's taught writing at a variety of levels. He now works and lives in the American Midwest.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


King, S. (2012). On writing: a memoir of the craft. London: Hodder. Nanowrimo. (2017, March 13). Writing Behind Bars. Retrieved from https://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/158362911676/writing-behind-bars

Lemery, N. (2017, March 13).Writing behind bars. National novel writing month. https://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/158362911676/writing-behind-bars

US Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2002). Program Statement. Retrieved from https://www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5300_021.pdf

“What is NaNoWriMo?” (1999). Retrieved from https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-nanowrimo

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