Etheridge Knight began writing poetry while serving a sentence for robbery. He talks with Fresh Air producer Danny Miller about how he draws inspiration from his past experiences as a former prisoner and drug addict.
Billy Hayes' years spent in a Turkish prison for smuggling hashish have been well documented in his book Midnight Express, which was later adapted into a book. He now pursues an acting career in California.
Writer and scholar John Edgar Wideman's new book focuses on his younger brother Robby, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Wideman explores their differences and tries to understand what led Robby to a life of crime.
White House counsel John Ehrlichman was among many in the Nixon administration who served time for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He has since become a writer, publishing a memoir and several novels.
Tucker wrote Brown's memoir, The Godfather of Soul, which was recently reprinted. He joins Fresh Air to talk about Brown's rise as a soul singer, the evolution of his stage persona, and his recent conviction and imprisonment, a punishment which Tucker believes is too severe based on the charges.
Kurt Vonnegut's new novel is set in 2001 in a radically reconfigured America. The complex, self-referential plot reveals unique insights into the United State's past, says book critic John Leonard. It's Vonnegut's best book in years.
James Fogle was a drug addict who, along with others, robbed drugstores to feed his habit. The film Drugstore Cowboy is based on his autobiographical novel of the same name; the book wasn't yet published at the time of production. It's now in stores. Fogle is currently serving a prison sentence, and joins Fresh Air by telephone.
Since 1975, Rideau has been the editor-in-chief of "The Angolite," the prison newsmagazine of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where he's serving a life sentence for murder. An eighth-grade dropout, he was convicted of murder in 1961 and spent eleven years on death row at Angola, where he taught himself to write. "The Angolite" has highlighted issues of execution and prison rape. For his writing, Rideau won the Sidney Hillman Award in 1981, the George Polk award in 1980, and the Robert F.