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UCLA Carceral Free Write Fellowship (CFWF)

Under the UCLA faculty supervision of Adam Bradley, Professor of English and Director of the RAP Lab (Race And Popular culture) and the guidance of formerly incarcerated life prisoner and current UCLA English Literature undergrad Benjamin Frandsen, the CFWF will administer this fellowship as an anonymized writer’s critique letter program, aiming to serve California’s 90,000+ imprisoned writers dispersed throughout 30+ facilities, by providing written constructive critiques delivered by multi-discipline, degree-seeking, volunteer UCLA student editors.

Whereas programs operating at other Universities might deploy only MFA or English department degree-seeking student editors, and thus contend with an engagement reach that is unnecessarily limited, the CFWF expands the editor ranks to include student volunteers studying outside the English department, such as those pursuing degrees in Political Science, Philosophy, Journalism, Communications, the Social Sciences, and Humanities. Criticism isn’t just the X’s and O’s of grammar and structure, it’s also about subject, theme, tone, and story. Thus, the CFWF carceral writer-editor experience will intentionally affirm the diversity of the carceral writer pool, by recruiting student editors that reflect the lived experience and educational diversity found working in modern newsrooms, published magazines, and talk radio/podcast broadcast productions.

In these ways, we seek to introduce carceral writers to a broader spectrum of critical lenses that might better inform their work, while expanding engagement. The CFWF will begin taking solicitations from all prison facilities following the San Quentin News ads running therein, and also deploy a targeted, monthly, in-person workshop series serving high-security youth offenders housed at the Orange County Juvenile Hall and, eventually, other facilities.

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