Archive for March, 2018

Shakespeare for Cops

March 3, 2018

Harvard Professor Jeffrey R. Wilson and I recently conducted a series of Q&A via email regarding an educational program he’s developing called, “Shakespeare for Cops.” The first question and answer comprise the bulk of this post.

Professor Wilson has also posted a video on YouTube depicting his presentation on the topic at the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. Links to his video and website can be found at the bottom.

Police and the Humanities

  1. In general, how would you describe the relationship between the police and the arts and humanities?

I’m not aware of any formalized relationships. I’m trying to partially address that through CopWorld Press. There are, however, several successful police writers. Chief among them over the decades has been Joe Wambaugh who’s in his 80s now and not writing a lot but was one of the most powerful figures in the publishing industry for several decades. There’s also Dallas Barnes who has published six novels and sold more than a million copies in numerous languages and written for television and the movies. I’m happy to say that CopWorld Press will be publishing his seventh novel, “A Man in Heat” in April of this year. Paul Bishop is also successful in much the same way as Dallas Barnes. What they all have in common in addition to their literary chops is having worked for the LAPD.

I’ve attended an event in Newport Beach, Ca several times called “Men of Mystery” and met a Chicago police officer there who has also done well but I don’t remember his name. Ed Conlon, a Harvard grad had a big success with “Blue Blood,” a memoir of his first couple years as a patrol officer with the NYPD. In my opinion, much of his success stemmed from his college bio. It’s probably not a coincidence that the TV series, “Blue Bloods” features Jamie Reagan who graduated from Harvard Law School before joining the “family business” on the NYPD. While the series has little similarity to Conlon’s book, he was probably remunerated in some way for the title and for Jamie’s character.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous current and retired police officers ask me to help them write their stories, which is one of the reasons I’ve formed CopWorld Press. It provides a venue for police officers who might not otherwise break into the marketplace. In addition to the traditional model, we’re striving to create a social network of people who will participate in creating and disseminating the work of police writers.  I’ve recently  begun a correspondence with an author who’s asked for help in developing a nascent project into a book about a legendary San Diego police officer who died a few years ago.

As a publisher, I’m striving to strengthen the relationship between police authors and arts and humanities by providing an outlet for their creativity. Cops have great stories and they’re great story tellers. Joe Wambaugh is famous for taking groups of cops out for dinner and plying them with booze to loosen their tongues. Many stories told on those occasions have worked their way into his books.

Shakespeare for Cop

https://wilson.fas.harvard.edu/

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