Outside an East Village diner, in the early morning hours of July 18th, 1981, a writer named Jack Henry Abbott stabs waiter and fellow writer Richard Adan to death because Adan refuses him use of the diner’s bathroom. Abbott is no ordinary writer; from age 12-37 he’s lived all but 9 ½ months in prison or juvenile detention. At the time of the murder, he’s just been released from prison and within a matter of days his highly praised and anticipated book about his life behind bars is set to be released. Season 1 of Penknife explores the books and crimes of Jack Henry Abbott, as well as those of his two most famous penpals, Norman Mailer and Jerzy Kosinski. In this inaugural episode of Penknife we look at Abbott’s first 37 years; years that lead him to write a great book, and to commit a grisly murder.
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