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The Search For Talented Writers In The Prison System Is Changing It, Too 

By Adam Popescu via FastCompany Labs

A digital publishing house is conducting a semi-legal, large-scale search for the next great incarcerated author. The reaction from authorities isn’t what you’d expect.

Jack London, Ken Kesey, William Burroughs, Oscar Wilde, Malcolm X, Voltaire, Cervantes, E.E. Cummings, Martin Luther King, Mark Twain–all literary legends who spent time behind bars. Some only a few nights, others years. A few even penned classics while in the joint.

Unlike those lucky standouts, most incarcerated art doesn’t make it outside the confines of a cell. But that may be changing. Random House recently paid six figures for the rights to a handwritten prison memoir titled “The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison.”

Now a Texas publishing company is searching for the next great incarcerated writers–something never possible before software, thanks to strict laws about communicating (and, of course, planning entrepreneurial creative efforts) with prisoners. Here’s how they’re pulling it off.

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