A Grip of Time (prison slang for a very long sentence behind bars) takes readers into a world most know little about—a maximum-security prison—and into the minds and hearts of the men who live there. These men, who are serving out life sentences for aggravated murder, join a fledgling Lifers' Writing Group started by award-winning author Lauren Kessler. Over the course of three years, meeting twice a month, the men reveal more and more about themselves, their pasts, and the alternating drama and tedium of their incarcerated lives. As they struggle with the weight of their guilt and wonder if they should hope for a future outside prison walls, Kessler struggles with the fiercely competing ideas of rehabilitation and punishment, forgiveness and blame that are at the heart of the American penal system. Gripping, intense, and heartfelt, A Grip of Time: When Prison Is Your Life shows what a lifetime with no hope of release looks like up-close.
About the Author
Lauren Kessler is an award-winning author and (semi-) fearless immersion reporter who combines lively narrative with deep research. She has explored everything from the gritty world of a maximum-security prison to the grueling world of professional ballet. She is the author of ten works of narrative nonfiction, including Raising the Barre; Clever Girl; and The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Her books have been BookSense selections, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times bestsellers, Wall Street Journal and People magazine "best" selections, Pacific Northwest Book Award winners, and Oregon Book Award winners.
Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O Magazine, salon.com, Utne Reader, the Nation, newsweek.com, Prevention, Ladies Home Journal, and elsewhere. Kessler is an international speaker and workshop leader.
She founded a writers' group for inmates of a maximum-security prison, teaches storytelling for social change to nonprofits in the U.S. and abroad, and works with traditional journalists who want to hone their storytelling skills. She blogs at www.laurenchronicles.com about living an engaged life. She lives in Oregon.