Writing in Prison


Drugs and petty crime landed Daniel Genis in prison for ten years. He spent his term reading and working on his three-hundred page novel—but only after dropping $375 on a clear plastic typewriter, the only model he was allowed. Genis spoke with The Airship, describing what it was like writing from prison:

A typewriter contains enough metal rods and plastic shards to murder a fair amount of people, so one would think that this would be an issue. However, prisoners are basically poor. As a result, typewriters are not too common and someone investing in one is not suspected of taking it apart to make shanks — much easier to simply use a can top.

Ian MacAllen is the Rumpus Deputy Editor and founder of English Kills Review an online literary magazine focused on books, authors, and New York City. His writing has appeared in Little Fiction, Vol 1 Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, Chicago Review of Books, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He holds a Master’s Degree in English from Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →