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  • NYS Writers Institute

Sister Helen Prejean: Activist and author of "Dead Man Walking"

“When you're writing a book, you're not really alone... When I wrote Dead Man Walking and I began to dig into the case of Pat Sonnier, I got the [trial] transcripts. You put your little boat in the current when you go to write your story. I don't consider that process per se lonely.

— Sister Helen Prejean

An Albany Book Festival featured event presented by the NYS Writers Institute

Sister Helen Prejean's bestselling book about ministering to death row inmates, Dead Man Walking (1993), was adapted as a 1995 film starring Susan Sarandon (as Sister Helen) and Sean Penn. Her new memoir, River of Fire: On Becoming an Activist (2019), recounts her spiritual journey from praying for God to solve the world’s problems to engaging full-tilt in working to address societal injustices.

Learn more about Sister Helen at her website:

The NYS Writers Institute continues to support independent local bookstores, and the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza is the sole bookseller for the Albany Book Festival. Click here to order River of Fire All books featured in the book festival can be ordered directly online through this Albany indie bookstore at

Find links to all Albany Book Festival video conversations on our YouTube channel:

More information and events at


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