Brothers in Pen: Tragedy, Struggle and Hope


Foreword by Tobias Wolff

Michael R. Harris, Glenn Padgett, Tharon Hill, R. F. Gilliam, Jeff Atkins, Kenny Brydon.

Seated (from top): Ronin Holmes, Jerry Elster, Watani Stiner, Troy Williams, Zoe Mullery, Michael Willis. Standing (from top): Michael R. Harris, Julian Padgett, Ernie Laszlo, Tharon Hill, R. F. Gilliam, Jeff Atkins, Kenny Brydon.

A new anthology of fiction and creative non-fiction written in an ongoing writing workshop at San Quentin State Prison by twelve men, mostly Lifers, all serious writers. A strong theme emerging from this collection is the nature of violence and its effects on human beings, and the kind of struggle required to turn violence around. The subtitle of this anthology, “Tragedy, Struggle, and Hope,” speaks to this kind of vision. However, the seriousness of the subject matter doesn’t mean these stories are all heavy and harsh. There is much humor, wisdom, complexity and hope to be found in these pages.
You’ll encounter struggles of temptation and forgiveness, soul-searching inquiries into the past, tragic love stories, battle bots, psychogenic amnesia, first-person accounts of Black Power history, prehistoric family drama, gang cease-fires, tommyknockers, and much more.
The class had the honor of Tobias Wolff visiting and contributing a foreword for this book. “We are storytelling animals,” he writes, and this anthology is evidence of that fact.
All proceeds from the sale of this book go through the William James Association to support this creative writing class through the Arts-in-Corrections program.

Copies of previous anthologies are also available.

To purchase softcover ($17), click here:

For hardcover ($29.95):

To see all San Quentin anthologies available:


For more information, contact


About Brothers In Pen

Brothers in Pen is the collective name of the Wednesday Night Creative Writing Class at San Quentin State Prison facilitated by Zoe Mullery.
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4 Responses to Brothers in Pen: Tragedy, Struggle and Hope

  1. Felica Jones says:

    I’m really glad to see that someone is taking the time to nurture the creative side of these extraordinary individuals that so much to share with the world.

  2. brothersinpen says:

    Thanks, Felicia. I hope you ordered a book–and if so, I hope you got a non-defective copy! I’ve had trouble with the printers, but I think we’ve got it all worked out now. If you got a bad copy, please let me (and the printers) know. If you read it, please come back and post some comments about what you thought of it. The writers would love to hear any feedback.

  3. alpha says:

    this message is for ronin , please contact me via email. this is wind…

  4. Reatha Conte says:

    I found a few of the paintings by Tharon Hill. The pictures really tell a story. I wish I could find a way to display the pictures and tell the story. I believe their was harshness in his punishment. I feel the closeness to Jesus Christ in his paintings. To keep this arts program alive is a really great service.

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