Wally Lamb, best known for the international bestseller She's Come Undone, drew from his longtime work with incarcerated women for his latest novel, We Are Water.
For more than a decade, the American author has held writing workshops for women in the prison system. We Are Water explores dark family secrets, including childhood sexual abuse — powerful subject matter he was able to tackle after working with female convicts.
As an outlet, writing can present "an invitation to better understand others and to not necessarily to think in terms of black and white — you know, here are the good people and here are the bad people," he told CBC News.
"That's one of the things that the women in the prison have taught me, because many of them have done some very bad things and yet I don't find them to be bad people. I don't feel the need to judge them because they have already been judged and sentenced. I just meet them where they happen to be and encourage them to write about what they need to write about."
In the attached video, Wally Lamb discusses We are Water, exploring dark points of view and his incarcerated writing students.