Piper Kerman, author of the 2010 memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, will speak 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman

The lecture and a book-signing are free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by Student Diversity and Inclusion Services at St. Thomas; co-sponsors are the University Lectures Committee, Loftus Diversity Grants, Faculty Development, Luann Dummer Center for Women, Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, Division of Student Affairs and the departments of Women’s Studies, Communication and Journalism, History, Sociology and Criminal Justice, American Culture and Difference, and Justice and Peace Studies.

Orange is the New Black reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list and later was adapted into an Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning series for Netflix. The book is an account of Kerman’s 11 months in a Connecticut federal prison that followed her 2004 conviction for transporting drug money.

The book examines the United States’ war on drugs, its criminal-justice system and the women who cycle through it. It was the topic of a month-long book club this past January sponsored by St. Thomas’ Student Diversity and Inclusion.

A graduate of Smith College, Kerman now works as a communications consultant for nonprofits and public-interest organizations. She serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, has testified at Senate hearings on solitary confinement and women prisoners, and last year received the Justice Trailblazer Award from the John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice.

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