Unlikely Brothers Author Michael Mattocks calls Book Club “One of my most powerful experiences”

Unlikely Brothers tells the story of two very different men, their lives, and the revelations brought by a twenty-five year friendship. Mattocks’ story is one that Free Minds members found it easy to relate to: in his life he’s gone from homeless youth, to grade-school dropout, to neighborhood drug dealer, to DC Jail inmate, to, finally, involved father and published author.

“There was always a voice in my head,” the author told the book club, referring to his eight months in jail, “saying ‘keep planning.’ There were other voices too, but I ignored them.” The power of those plans is now evident in Mattocks’ appearances on the Today Show, the Diane Rehm Show, and a packed reading at Politics & Prose Bookstore.

But fame hasn’t been easy for Mattocks, especially given the content of his books. “The hardest part of writing this book was bringing back all the stuff I did. I would break down. Every day, doing interviews, I get choked up — but I bite my tongue. I have to.”

Since their audience was a published author, the members of course shared their poetry — the poems they read are up on the writing blog right now.

Mattocks’ story resonated with the young poets, especially when he described his early life. As he was leaving the unit, Free Minds poets lined up to shake his hand and thank him for coming. “You inspire me so much,” one writer, D’Angelo, said.

Later, Mattocks expressed admiration for the Free Minds poets. “This is a talented bunch, and confident,” he said, clearly moved by the atmosphere of book club. At the Politics & Prose Bookstore reading later that week, he recounted his time with the young men of Free Minds, calling it “One of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.”

Watch interview with Mattocks here.

Runaway Bestsellers

Free Minds’ Love of Books Extends Even to the Finish Line

Read More

Author George Pelecanos Visits Book Club

On a recent Thursday afternoon, the Free Minds Book Club was thrilled to host a visit from best-selling crime writer, George Pelecanos. The young book club members who gathered in the Correctional Treatment Facility’s chapel had just finished reading Pelecanos’ new release, The Way Home – a story set in the familiar streets of Washington, DC. Read More

Free Minds Poets Present at Conference: “Understanding and Responding to Violence”

On November 9, 2010, nearly 400 District court judges, prosecutors, court personnel, and community leaders gathered at the Washington Convention Center to examine issues of violence in the city. When the time came to discuss solutions, they turned to five Free Minds poets for advice.

Read More

Former Sudanese Child Soldier visits Free Minds

Read about it at The Washington Post!

On October 4th, international hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal visited Free Minds members in the DC Jail as our book club’s special guest author. Mr. Jal’s book, War Child, as well as the documentary of the same name, have been a favorite of our members, and they relished the opportunity to meet him.

Read More