August 16, 2019 - 7:00pm
Prairie Lights

Local author Andy Douglas will read from Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of A Community Prison Choir.

For six years, Andy Douglas volunteered with the Oakdale Community Choir, a performing chorus composed of volunteers and inmates, at the men's correctional facility in Coralville, Iowa. As the gates clang shut behind choir volunteers each week, and we walk the long halls to the rehearsal room, the reader encounters the rewards and challenges of creating music in this environment, a place usually defined by trauma, danger, and control. But it's also, as we learn, a place where healing, atonement and growth can occur.

Redemption Songs describes the lives of people struggling to overcome their pasts, volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to offer hope, and prison administrators charged with balancing security needs with opportunities for inmate self-improvement.

“More than an account of the choir’s work, the book is a deep insight into musical humanity under dehumanizing conditions. Douglas’s work is evocative and thoughtful, deeply compassionate and humble, and brings the reader close to the troubled lives, wounds and hopes of the incarcerated men.” —Dr André de Quadros

Andy Douglas is the author of The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga. He was born in Brazil to missionary parents, and travel and spiritual practice have shaped his life ever since. He has practiced yoga and meditation for thirty years, and lived for seven years in various countries of Asia. He has a bachelors’ degree in Anthropology and an MFA in Creative Writing. His essays, stories and translations have appeared in Mary, New Renaissance, J Journal, Fogged Clarity, Nimrod, Pisgah Review, Bayou, and The Examined Life. He’s active in peace, economic justice and prison issues.