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Alex Kotlowitz

He noticed something moving in the back of the cell. In this final episode, inmate James Trent describes an encounter that he’ll never forget. Plus: An interview with the co-creators of Written Inside, Alex Kotlowitz and Jennifer Lackey. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
No privacy. No space. No quiet. No furniture. In this episode, inmate William Jones describes his prison cell, which is notable for what is not there rather than what is. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
Ramon Delgado rises before dawn to thoroughly scrub his cell each morning. In this episode, an inmate describes his obsessive cleaning routine in a space caked with dust and dirt. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
In prison, it’s important not to allow anyone to get close to you, especially a cellmate. But this cellmate is different. In this episode, inmate Michael Carlos describes his improbable friendship with a cardboard pianist. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
Being a recluse, especially in prison, does simplify things. In this episode, inmate Marcos Gray considers the consequences of isolating himself from other prisoners...and from his family back home. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
Pack your stuff. You’re moving. Howard Keller Jr. has been transferred over two dozen times to different prison cells. In this episode, Howard describes the anxiety he experienced before meeting his 37th cellmate. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
These roaches don’t run when the light turns on. In the second episode, inmate Oscar “Smiley” Parham describes the reason he started a two-month war with super vermin in his prison cell. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
How do you learn to play piano without a piano? In this first episode, inmate Demetrius Cunningham explains how he taught himself to play piano with a makeshift keyboard fashioned from something he found in prison. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago’s Colin McNulty.
NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers died of cancer Friday. He was 61. When he got the diagnosis, Sellers announced he would spend his remaining time working even harder to bring attention to earth’s fragile climate conditions. In June, Sellers talked about that choice with Alex Kotlowitz as part of WBEZ’s Heat of the Moment series.
We say farewell and thank you to our friend and colleague, Cecilia Vaisman, radio documentary maker and teacher.
In 1993, a cocky and successful real estate agent was ordered by his boss to take one day off each week. He decided to volunteer at an orphanage. What he didn’t expect was that a 9-year-old boy would have a lasting impact on his life. WBEZ presents a half-hour audio documentary from producers Alex Kotlowitz and Amy Drozdowska.