Manuscript page from Alaric Hunt's contest-winning novel, Cut to the Bone.

Manuscript page from Alaric Hunt’s contest-winning novel, Cut to the Bone.


Read the chatscript from this session of #litchat here.

Many novels are filled with the unsatisfying consequences of poor choices made in youth. Author Alaric Hunt lives within those consequences every moment of his life. Hunt, winner of a debut-detective-novel writing contest sponsored by Minotaur Books and the Private Eye Writers of America, is in prison for arson and murder of a college student in 1988. According to judges of the contest, Hunt’s voice was fresh and the characters a step above common crime fiction protagonists.

Many states have enacted what’s known as a Son of Sam law that blocks prison inmates from profiting from the publishing of stories and books about their crimes. Hunt’s novel bears no resemblance to the crime that landed him in prison. Plus, South Carolina, his state of residency and where he is incarcerated, repealed it’s Son of Sam law anyway. He won $10,000 in the contest and a publishing contract with Minotaur Books.

How can prisoners at large benefit from the publishing success of prisoners such as Alaric Hunt? Is it right for prisoners to publish while incarcerated? How much money might they be allowed to earn from sales of their writing? Should any of the profits from their writing be distributed to their victims or victim’s families? We’ll ask these and more questions in MediaMonday #litchat, 4 p.m. E.T.