Author & Journalist
Ian Manuel is an activist and poet from Tampa, Florida who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for attempted murder after his participation in a botched robbery. Manuel served 26 years in prison until Bryan Stevenson's Equal Justice Initiative secured his release in 2016. While incarcerated, Manuel began writing poetry, which he credits for keeping him sane and giving him hope. In his memoir, My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption (2021), Manuel takes readers through his equally wrenching and inspiring story, from his upbringing as a poor Black kid from Florida, to the violent incident that changed the trajectory of his life, to the story of his redemption. Manuel performs spoken word poetry and was a 2017 MacDowell Fellow for nonfiction literature. He lectures and shares the story of his crime and discusses his experience with the US criminal justice system. Ian is a current Art For Justice Fellow, and works as Program Manager of Culture Change at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.