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Carol Muske-Dukes, 'Channeling Mark Twain'

Poet and novelist Carol Muske-Dukes founded the University of Southern California's doctoral program in literature and creative writing; she's written three novels and seven collections of poetry, been a National Book Award finalist and received a Guggenheim fellowship.

Her latest novel is Channeling Mark Twain, about a writer who teaches a poetry workshop at Rikers Island prison, discovering only there how genuinely powerful language can be. Fellow author Mary Karr describes it as "a riveting story ... with language that scorches the page and characters you won't be able to live without."

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