Felon: An American Washi Tale followed by UCHV Panel Discussion

Mar 2, 2023, 7:00 pm9:30 pm


Event Description

Performance of Felon: An American Washi Tale in the Berlind Theatre. UCHV will host a panel discussion following this first performance around legal and ethical questions embedded in the play. This solo show written and performed by Reginald Dwayne Betts and developed and directed by Elise Thoron and is based on Betts’ experience of incarceration and his poetry book, Felon.

Performance: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
UCHV Panel discussion: 8:45 PM to 9:30 PM

Panelists include:

Reginald Dwayne Betts, the author and performer of “Felon,” who was formerly incarcerated and recently received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, advocates for access to literature in prisons and is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Freedom Reads. A poet and lawyer, he is the author of four books. Betts’s poetry collection, Felon, won an American Book Award. 

Lidal Dror (Panel Chair) is an Associate Research Scholar in Philosophy at Princeton and will become an Assistant Professor at Princeton in Fall 2023. Dror’s philosophical interests are centered around issues of oppression, and the barriers to reaching a just, free and equal society. 

Nafeesah A. Goldsmith is co-founder and COO of YFOF (Youth Function Over Form), a youth justice organization focused on creating successful prison-free futures, and founder and CEO of RISE (Real Intervention Supports Excellence), a mission-based sustainability initiative that supports at-risk communities.  Goldsmith participated in the Clinton College Bound/NJ-STEP program and other educational programs during a period of incarceration.

Christia Mercer is the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and the founder of Just Ideas, an educational program in Brooklyn’s high security Metropolitan Detention Center, in 2018.  Mercer was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the University Center for Human Values in 2020-21.

During the panel, Caroline Subbiah ’23, a senior in UCHV’s Values and Public Life certificate program who is writing a senior thesis at Princeton in English on prison literature, will read an excerpt of writing by Francisco Wills, who is currently incarcerated.

Open to the public (purchase tickets through McCarter Box Office). Members of the UCHV community: contact Jane Peters for more information.

  • Lewis Center for the Arts
  • University Center for Human Values