John Edgar Wideman to speak Saturday in Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh native John Edgar Wideman, a Brown University professor and award-winning author of 10 novels, will join four panelists in a discussion of incarceration and rehabilitation on Saturday.

The public is invited to the free event, which will be held at 2 p.m. in Simmons Hall at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside.

Mr. Wideman, who grew up in Homewood, is the author of “Brothers and Keepers,” a memoir about two brothers. One man is a respected novelist while the other is a fugitive wanted for robbery and murder.

Mr. Wideman’s son, Jacob, is serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of his roommate, Eric Kane, in Arizona. Mr. Wideman’s brother, Robert, is serving a life sentence for felony murder at the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh.

The other panelists are William DiMascio, former executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society; Bill Stickman, former warden of Pittsburgh’s Western Penitentiary; David A. Harris, attorney and professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; and Bill Moushey, former director of Point Park University’s Innocence Institute. The moderator is Sharon Walsh, editor of PublicSource.

Photographs from Mark Perrott’s book, “E Block,” will be on display. For a year, the photographer documented the graffiti-covered walls of Western Penitentiary, then transcribed the words and drawings that prisoners scrawled in cells reserved for first-time offenders and parole violators. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Marylynne Pitz: mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.


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