My time in the Big House

A.K.A. the Matsqui Correctional Institution where I spent Sat. and Sun. at a semi-annual event: the Matsqui Writer’s Weekend. I don’t know quite what I expected when I agreed to spend two days with prisoners talking about writing. I thought I would at least learn something about being in prison, and I certainly did, both from talking to the prisoners and from experiencing the check-in and check out procedures…not to mention the lovely prison cuisine. I also thought I might see some interesting work, and I certainly did that too. But I didn’t really expect a full tilt writers’ conference experience…which is what I got. By the end, I more or less forgot I was in a prison and just enjoyed the hell out of interacting with other writers (some prisoners, some volunteers like me, but it wasn’t always easy to tell one from the other) and hearing their works. I’ll do that again if I get the chance, which I’m told I will in April sometime.

My thanks to Ed and Kathy Griffin who organized this and to David Blinkhorn who told me about it.

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