Ian Manuel: How the Peace of Poetry Helped Me Survive in Solitary


Please join our friends at the Desmond Tutu Peace Lab for

Ian Manuel: How the Peace of Poetry Helped Me Survive in Solitary


  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM


  • 4602 Clarendon Rd (Pharmacy Building 150, Butler University)


Ian Manuel was incarcerated at aged 13 for his involvement in a violent crime. He was released in 2017, having served the first 18 years of his sentence in solitary confinement and 26 years in total in prison. Today, Ian Manuel is a poet, activist, and recent MacDowell Fellow. Manuel’s talk will tell the story of his life prior to incarceration, when he was living in Tampa, Florida in one of the poorest, most violent housing projects in the state. He will describe his time in prison, and explain how in solitary he discovered a special gift – the ability to compose words in ways that move people. Manuel’s prison poetry was featured in Bryan Stevenson's bestseller, Just Mercy. It was Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative that took on Manuel’s case in 2006 and eventually helped secure his release, as part of their fight to end excessive punishment of children, hoping to ban life without parole for children who are convicted on non-homicides. Although the fight for justice for incarcerated children continues, Manuel’s story, which he is turning into an innovative memoir, will make you believe in his mantra - "The impossible is obtainable.”

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