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Chris Hedges: The Class - Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison

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CBC’s Adrian Harewood sits down with Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Chris Hedges to discuss the crucible and injustice of America’s penal system and the struggle by those trapped within its embrace to live lives of dignity, meaning, and purpose. His latest, The Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison is a haunting and powerfully moving book that gives voice to the poorest among us and lays bare the cruelty of a penal system that too often defines their lives.

Chris Hedges taught courses in drama, literature, philosophy, and history at East Jersey State Prison and other New Jersey prisons. In his first class at East Jersey State Prison, his class set out to write a play of their own. In writing the play, Caged, students gave words to the grief and suffering they and their families have endured, as well as to their hopes and dreams. The class’s artistic and personal discovery, as well as transformation, is chronicled in heart-breaking detail in The Class. This book gives a human face and a voice to those our society too often demonizes and abandons.

Chris Hedges spent nearly 20 years as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper's coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of the bestsellers Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (with cartoonist Joe Sacco); Death of the Liberal Class; Empire of Illusion; and War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, among others.

Register for a Zoom link.

This event is also streamed live on Ottawa Public Library Facebook. The Facebook streaming link is

Offered by Ottawa Public Library in partnership with the Ottawa International Writers Festival.