Molly Brodak / Courtesy
Atlanta-based author Molly Brodak will visit Fayetteville next week as part of the Prison Story Project’s current session of “Stories from the Inside Out,” a class for women incarcerated at Northwest Arkansas Community Correction Center. Now in its seventh season, the Prison Story Project uses poetry, memoir, storytelling, and songwriting to empower women to tell their stories and bridge the gap between the incarcerated and the communities to which they will return.
The program’s current class recently finished reading Brodak’s newest book, Bandit: A Daughter’s Memoir. The book chronicles Brodak’s childhood and adulthood with a father who has twice gone to prison for robbing banks. In lucid, lyric prose full of startling emotional revelations, Brodak achieves a style that is both intimately confessional and literarily convincing.
Matthew Henriksen, teaching poet for the project, said the women participating in “Stories from the Inside Out” were so moved by the book, claiming that Brodak at times describes their personal experience word for word, that the Prison Story staff decided to start an Indigogo campaign to fly Brodak to Fayetteveille to meet with the class and to make some public appearances.
Brodak will read from her memoir and answer questions at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Nightbird Books. Copies of the book are available at the store and will be available for purchase the night of the event. At 8 p.m., Brodak, who is also a poet, will read from her poetry collection A Little Middle of the Night along with other poems as part of the Open Mouth Series at The Nines, located at. Both events are free and open to the public.
The following day on Dec. 14, Brodak will meet with the class of incarcerated women who read her book to answer questions and spend time together.
“I write about the effects of prison on my dad’s life in my book, and yet I don’t really know what prison is like,” Brodak said. “I would like to learn more about its effects from people who have lived it. I have a lot of respect for people who’ve been through the system because I know how complex and soul-crushing it seems to be by what I saw in my dad.”