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Writers in Public invites writers and artists to share their work with communities in public high schools, rehabilitation centers, city housing projects, and prisons. Our goal is to offer events that enable audiences to see their lives reflected in literature, to discuss experiences of trauma through art, and to encourage independent work.

WIP’s most important partners are the communities we collaborate with. When our writers visit schools, they workshop student writing. When we stage a performance, the audience generates the town hall discussion. Ultimately, not only is WIP’s goal to bring writers and performers to new publics, but to foster the storytellers and artists these communities contain.

Because no two publics are the same, WIP designs each event for a given community. We carefully select our visiting writers and plan a discussion or teaching program that will best resonate with that audience. Working collaboratively with teachers, administrators, public health professionals, and correctional officers and staff, WIP seeks to create the most impactful events possible.

None of our work would be possible without the writers and artists who have signed onto our mission. They include the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, award-winning theater and film director Peter Brook, American historian Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, bestselling novelist and poet Nick Flynn, current NYC Public Artist in Residence Bryan Doerries, and several arts and nonprofit organizations: PEN America/Prison and Justice Writing, Theater of War, and Theater for a New Audience.

Writers in Public was co-founded in 2018 by George Rosenfeld, who has served on the boards of Odyssey House and several nonprofit educational initiatives, and Alice Whitwham, who is currently a literary agent at The Cheney Agency, and has experience both as a teacher in public schools and directing literary events across New York City.

From left to right: Justin Mitchell, VP, Director of Adult Residential Services; George Rosenfeld, Chairman of the Odyssey House Foundation; Haley Carmichael; John Tavolacci, Executive Vice President and CEO of Odyssey House; Robert Graham, former Director of Odyssey House Edgecombe Treatment Services; Kalieaswari Srinivasan; Peter Provet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Odyssey House; Peter Brook; Hervé Goffings; Hiran Mihindu Abeysekera; Philippe Vialatte: Marie-Hélène Estienne; Omar Silva Martinez. Pictured at Edgecombe following a performance of Brook’s play, The Prisoner.
NYC Public Artist in Residence Bryan Doerries, in conversation with an audience member at Odyssey House, following Theater of War’s Addiction Performance Project based on Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night.