FreeThis week, on Wednesday and Thursday, I’m giving away E-book copies of Dystopia. This is a book about prison, about my journey into prison to teach creative writing, and about Mike Oulton’s journey thru prison starting from his arrest in Mexico for smuggling drugs. Mike spent two years in Mexican prisons and eight years in Canadian prisons. You will be surprised to find out which system he liked better.

This book is not a treatise on prison reform – it’s full of stories of the people both of us met in prison. You will see clearly what an American maximum-security prison is like, what happens in a poverty-stricken Mexican prison, and how staff treat inmates in Canadian prisons.Dystopia

A few quotes from Ed and Mike:

“Let no one say I’m soft on crime. I call for a system that demands of criminals real change. Right now convicts don’t have to alter their behavior, they just have to do their time. Boring, but easy. I call for wardens to devise correctional facilities that really correct, that demand socially acceptable behavior and the personality structure to support it.” Ed Griffin

“There’s no such thing as a halfway crook.” Mike Oulton

“I came to prison to cause a revolution and what I found was a friend.”  Ed Griffin

“Writing changed my life and melted the bars around my soul.” Mike Oulton

Even if you don’t have an E-book, you can download this book to your computer and read it there. Here’s the link:

Kindle for PC: Read eBooks on Your Computer – No Kindle Device Required

The Kindle for PC app lets you read eBooks and e-textbooks on your PC. Download the app today to start reading.

P.S.  I had a very enjoyable weekend at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. There was a time in my life when I figured I could stop going to conferences, stop reading books about writing and stop listening to experts talk about writing. I guess I figured I knew it all. How foolish. We all have a lot to learn and learning never stops.


  1. judith says:

    he ed,
    I looked for you all weekend, because I wanted to say thinks for your encouragement last year. It caused me to work like crazy. Just a little encouragement was all it took. You laughed at my piece, and asked if I had more. So, this year, I brought more. This year, you were ot a round, so I took my stuff to the marketplace to be told- no one can ever sell this stuff. You aren’t important, so the commercial market isn’t available. I was disappointed, but then, the proof is- I did write all year, preparing something I would not otherwise have done. Thanks .

    Now, I am trying to get into the new work, and I couldn’t find a link that worked. I finally read- wednesday… this is monday. yikes. so again, thanks for all you have done, and continue to do. I go to prisons too, but with a recovery from substances point of view. It is all about change, and our american system doesn’t let/want/allow people to change either. The presumption is that if you crank on them hard enough they will want to change, and miraculously come out a suit and tie wearing, auto mechanic with good teeth, good grammer, and a desire to play by the rules. I have never personally responded well to being maligned, abused or otherwise made to be emotionally crippled, so I can’t speak to the effectiveness of this approach, but I doubt it works.
    thanks for your ongoing work.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Hi Judith, I assume you are talking about the Writers Conference. I had to laugh when people told you “You can never get stuff like that published.” Many famous writers have been told that. When it was told to me, it made me so angry that I fought hard to prove the person wrong. I’m still trying.
      As a matter of fact, your comments here made me laugh about turning out perfect people. Hemingway has a great quote, “None of us are masters in this profession.” something like that.
      I was at the writers conference, if we are talking about that. I did blue pencil and I taught my hero’s journey class.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Hi Judith
      If it’s the writers’ conference you’re talking about I was there, blue pencil and I taught the hero’s journey. Your note made me laugh, first of all about the perfect person the system will try to create and secondly about someone telling you “You can never get stuff like that published”. I can’t tell you how many famous writers have had that told to them. Hemingway said something like, “we are all novices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Hang in there

  2. Joanne says:

    I just wanted to add a couple of words about this book, Dystopia. I recently read it and really enjoyed it! It opened my eyes about differences between the prison system in Canada and Mexico. Although the prisons in Mexico leave a lot to be desired, I believe they have a few things right. I learned that we can learn from anybody! Reading this book, I also felt that I got to know Ed and Mike as people. It wasn’t a tell-all, but they did give a whole lot of themselves. Mike’s story in particular, gave me insight into what things can lead to pressures upon release and where there continue to be gaps in the system. It also provided me with hope! I recommend this book to everyone. It was certainly a page-turner!

  3. Marcella says:

    Dystopia is a great read. Co-written by Ed and Mike; their corresponding views, their different back grounds and of course their different reasons for writing about prison makes it a topic of endless discussion. It is my opinion that it has an important place as a literary and societal piece. Having had the pleasure of knowing them both, made it a personal journey for me. I bought several signed copies and gave them to friends and family who were quite blown away.

    Ed was my my Creative Writing teacher who thought that I might find it interesting to join a group of other writers who participate in these writing works shops held at a medium security prison for men. A dozen or so of us “outsiders” meet with a group of “insiders” to share and critique our written works (some of us, very green, uh hum).

    Compelled to say yes, nervous as hell, I threw myself out of my comfort zone into Ed’s world. I was moved by the honesty and depth from which these men wrote. I was impressed at the level of pure raw talent. I saw the good work, the emotional therapy and healing that writing can bring. I saw the word “Hope” branded on every word. “I” felt empowered to confront my own issues head on with a renewed sence of hope for every possible outcome. Writing is a powerful tool and Ed brought that. Ed brings that every where he goes.

    I met Mike, who was up for parole, pumped, happy, positive, grateful, entertaining…the list goes on. I saw how much Ed was loved and respected and how much he gave to the writing program there. I could write a novel about my experience there (there’s an idea), but suffice to say that I was very naive about the prison system in Canada (still overwhelmed actually) but learned so much more about the human spirit. I am forever grateful for my experiences there and am so sorry that the program has been all but cancelled.

    Distopia is a wonderfully entertaining, heart breaking, heart warming, insightful look into a world most of haven’t got a clue about and should.

  4. James Inglis says:

    Ed, just downloaded your book. Can’t wait to give it a read.

    James Inglis

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