Until you define your prison, you can’t break free.

Katie Ford went to prison thinking it was her job to inspire the women there. A writer by trade, she volunteered to teach a writing workshop to incarcerated women, downloading classroom rubrics from the Internet and hoping to apply herself to something a little bit more meaningful. What she got was so much more.

In helping incarcerated women write the stories of what they believe led them to prison, Katie began to identify her own “prison” — the first critical step in her personal liberation. In this CreativeMornings/Austin talk on the global theme of Freedom, Katie explores the confines of prison: for the women she mentors and for herself.

About the speaker

A professional writer and editor since 1993, Katie Ford officially launched a second career as a writing workshop facilitator in 2015. She aims to bring into the free world restorative, creativity-based experiences that are inspired by the volunteer work she does in prison. She envisions working with all types of people — especially at-risk populations, but really anyone seeking opportunities to learn and heal through writing.

When she’s not stringing words together to make a buck or going to prison, she indulges in books, movies, dance, photography, art museums, far West Texas road trips, and not so far walks with her three-legged cattle dog, Martha Jean Ford.

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I had a huge awakening. I was looking at this grown woman in dark blue prison scrubs, these convicted criminals, villains, that I had a bias against, and thought, this is about multiple generations of a family in crisis. This problem is so much bigger than I initially understood. — Katie Ford

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