Learn more about the unjust incarceration of Bobby, a boy from New Haven who was wrongly convicted of a murder in 2006 from Nicholas Dawidoff and his book, The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City. He will be in conversation with Althea Seaborn.
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Dawidoff, a New Haven native, returned to the city and dedicated eight years to researching and writing this book. Urban decay, white flight, redlining — the transformation of Newhallville, in Dawidoff’s telling, make these symptoms of racist neglect vividly clear. As Bobby says, “Lack of jobs. Men don’t know how to be. That’s the tragedy of our world.” Without present fathers or after-school activities, boys find power and agency in guns — for example, in the case of the suspected murderer of Fields, a young man named Major who completes the book’s group portrait.
Bobby was caught in this world, but he didn’t murder Fields. Why did he confess? There’s a long history, we learn, of marginalized Americans falsely confessing. Dawidoff’s account of Bobby’s years in prison illustrates the national tragedy of mass incarceration, how it depersonalizes crime and punishment, failing to see the accused as individuals. He uncovers Bobby’s “world inside a world ... people whose second chance was giving him a second chance” — older inmates who led a book club devoted to James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and other writers who offer insight into Bobby’s world.
Miraculously, Bobby won his release from prison in 2015, aided by a dogged white lawyer, who discovered the case and fought to prove his innocence. Suddenly reentering the outside world as an adult when he’d left it as a child, Bobby struggles to adjust without the structure of prison.
Nicholas Dawidoff is the critically acclaimed author of five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy and In the Country of Country. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and has also been a Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and Art for Justice Fellow.
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Westporters write books on a wide variety of subjects in all sorts of genres. Authors Eve Nadel Catarevas and James Noble will share their new books - a biography and a coming-of age novel with our community. Saugatuck Scribes is a series that showcases Westport writers and their newest books.
In Eve Nadel Catarevas' children's biography, she tells the story of Rena Glickman, Queen of Judo, who was a Jewish girl who grew up to become the preeminent female judo master of her time, overcoming many obstacles. At a time when judo was a sport strictly for boys and men, Rusty was determined to practice the sport she loved. James Noble's second novel, Feels Like the First Time, continues the story of Jimmy Foxton, a teen in 1976. He has to contend with high school insecurities, love, and keg parties.
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Eve Nadel Catarevas always loved to write and started a newsletter for the kids in her Connecticut neighborhood when she was eight, featuring the “Best Backyards for Sledding” report, tips on houses to avoid on Halloween (pencils, popcorn balls, APPLES!), which raspberry patches were surrounded by poison ivy, and updates on how many more Bazooka Joe bubble gum comics she needed for that itty-bitty, fits-in-the-palm-of your-hand spy camera. It wasn’t until she began writing about little-known historical figures that she truly found her sweet spot. Discovering them, dusting them off and sharing their achievements with others was a turning point. They’ve been educational for her as well, and she’s planning to continue bringing their inspirational stories to light. Eve lives in Westport with two- and four-legged family members. Her debut non-fiction picture book, Rena Glickman, Queen of Judo was released in May and Wonderful Hair: The Beauty of Annie Malone will be published in October.
James Noble began writing and filming short screenplays in junior high school. In high school in Westport, he wrote a full length screenplay that got him accepted into the New York University Film School. Thus, he began a storied career as an advertising copywriter. He then found himself writing commercials and print campaigns for some of the most influential companies in the world. Disney, Apple, and Kia to name a few. Along the way he has shot commercials on every continent and had the fortune to work with celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks. Noble also won numerous awards in just about every advertising show on the planet. In 2018 he wrote his first book Nine Tana Leaves and now presents his sequel.
These books are perfect for: