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Herstory Beyond Bars

Memoir as a Tool for New Futures

A New Online Curriculum

Herstory Writers Network is excited to bring you this online curriculum to be used by people who are conducting writing workshops in carceral settings.


We hope this curriculum will inspire you to help people who are incarcerated or in reentry to shape their stories in ways that will dare strangers to care—to open their hearts and listen.

Let's Unshackle Our Stories

"When we care deeply enough, we find words we didn't know we had"

Erika Duncan

Pathways to
a Writing Community



Learn the structure
and methodology
step by step


Stories, articles,
videos and paintings


Empathy in Action

Using This Narrative Tool
for Healing and Change

This curriculum was created to help people whose stories have traditionally been silenced. It provides them with the tools to dare an indifferent or hardhearted listener or reader to care.

In preparation for teaching your first workshops, we ask you to spend a week or two of deep immersion in our first set of stories, created to change hearts, minds, and policies around carceral justice.


These are stories that have been used to train future corrections officers and to alert criminology students to the flaws in the carceral system, while healing and empowering the authors.

As you read the stories and watch the accompanying videos, we will be inviting you to explore what brings you personally into this work, regardless of whether you have directly experienced incarceration or are an ally in the movement for change.

Experience a story in action 

Watch a sample of the type of stories Herstory writers produce. This is a story written by one of Herstory’s facilitator, Victoria Roberts.

A Message from
our Founder

The notion of passing along the dare to care (the cornerstone of the Herstory approach) is simple. The ramifications are far reaching and profound, as we move out of silence into speech.

Erika Duncan.png

Erika Duncan

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