Though he is a prisoner, Arthur Longworth asserts his right to free speech under the First Amendment. Serving life without parole for a murder he committed in 1985, Longworth has continued to publish an array of stories and essays, including two articles for The Marshall Project, from the confines of his cell at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington state.
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One of our goals as a publisher is to ensure our titles found their way into library systems both for purposes of equity and legitimacy. Equity because anyone with a library card has access. Legitimacy because libraries place a premium on both the cultural relevance, interest and value of the books they acquire. We’re happy to report the Seattle Public Library system will soon offer, Zek: An American Prison Story.
If you’re in the Seattle area, place a hold on a copy at your local branch.
Zek An American Prison Story (Book) : Longworth, Arthur : A day in the life of prisoner Jonny Anderson, a young man who has been incarcerated in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla since he was a teenager.
This week marks Zek’s first press review published simultaneously in the Seattle Weekly and in the Seattle Review of Books. Reviewer Paul Constant writes, “The writing in Zek is simple, straightforward. It’s not beautiful, but the bluntness of the language suits the subject matter perfectly. We see the prison through Jonny’s eyes, and the unadorned vocabulary and sentence structure matches his pragmatic worldview.” But it’s the last line of the review that resonates the most. Check it out.
An underground classic in prisons, the book is being published for the public for the first time. One day in the not-so-distant future, Americans will look with shame and regret on the way we currently treat our prisoners. Over-incarceration abounds-particularly of African-American and Hispanic men-and rehabilitation is barely an afterthought.