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The Exoneration of Yutico Briley


Featuring Emily Bazelon, Staff Writer, The New York Times Magazine; Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law, Yale Law School

Moderated by Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, Columbia Law School; and Amy E. Hungerford, Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Ruth Fulton Benedict Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Nineteen-year-old Yutico Briley had served six years of a 60-year prison sentence when he wrote to Emily Bazelon, asking for her help in proving his innocence. On October 28, Bazelon will discuss her process in reporting and writing about Briley, for a story which took more than two years to complete. She will dive into the choices she made in its development, from deciding to seek out a lawyer for Briley, to writing the piece in the first person, as well as the response to the article and the aftermath for Briley. 

About the Columbia Public Writing Series

Distinguished writers discuss the craft and strategy of writing to change minds—and the world.

In each session, renowned writers join academic leaders from across the university in spirited conversation to examine the art of writing for public audiences. From sentence-level analyses of craft, to wider discussions of how a specific piece of writing addresses critical issues of the day, such as incarceration, climate change, and refugee crises, the sessions share tactics and tools to produce compelling and persuasive storytelling. As a result, participants learn to think like professional writers—and to build specific skills necessary for their work to reach national and international audiences. 

All members of the Columbia community are welcome; Columbia email required for registration. To benefit most from each event, read the featured article in advance, linked on the website, or available upon request. 

This event will be held online. For questions, please contact sps-events [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.