September 3, 2013
On September 21, 2011, the state of Georgia executed innocent death row prisoner, Troy Davis.
It is with a complicated mixture of emotions that two years later, I announce the release of I Am Troy Davis (Haymarket Books).
When I first started corresponding with Troy, I had no idea that our growing friendship would lead to me working closely with the Davis family on this book.
It was Troy himself who, after learning that I was a filmmaker, first put the idea into my head that I might be a part of helping his family tell their story.
“You should consider doing a documentary about Martina,” Troy wrote to me on April 21, 2008, during the early months of our correspondence. “That’s a story of love, tribulation, survival, strength, and determination that everyone can be moved by.”
I more than agreed with Troy. Martina was clearly a force of nature, and I instinctively felt that her double struggle (for her brother’s life and her own, battling breast cancer) was a powerful window into Troy’s story and to the violent impact that the death penalty has on innocent families.
The following year, Martina and I discussed the idea of working together on a book, leading to my first of many trips to Savannah. The project went into high gear following Troy’s execution, in what was to be the last two months of Martina’s life.
Working on I Am Troy Davis may very well be the most difficult task I have undertaken. The difficulty was largely emotional—I was immersing myself in the painful details of the story of two people I loved after having so recently lost them. But there were other challenges as well: how to complete a manuscript when both of my co-authors were now gone?
Partnering with the Davis family (enormous credit goes to Troy and Martina’s sister Kimberly) and with the contributions of so many others (attorneys, supporters, allies, activists, friends), I Am Troy Davis was completed and, thanks to a wonderful partnership with Haymarket Books, is being released this month, marking the 2-year anniversary of Troy’s execution.
Writing I Am Troy Davis has been, for me, the fulfillment of a sacred promise, a weighty responsibility, and an extraordinary privilege. This book is what I could do for Martina, for Troy, for their mother Virginia (all three of whom I miss dearly), and for the Davis family.
My deepest hope is that the book reflects Martina’s and Troy’s courage, spirit, and humanity in all of their beautiful complexity. I hope the book is a worthy tribute to them and does justice to their story and their struggle. By telling Martina’s and Troy’s truth, I hope that I Am Troy Davis provides an alternative form of justice for them and for the Davis family.
Also available for bulk/premium purchase orders, with prices as low as $9/book (retail price: $18) For larger purchases, greater discounts are possible.
Review copies are available upon request.
For info on book tour events, (taking place in NYC on Sept 20, Atlanta on Sept 21, Savannah on Sept 22, DC on Sept 24, Baltimore on Sept 28, Bellingham on Oct 1, and Seattle on Oct 2) click here.
(*Please note that event details are still being finalized, check back soon for updated information.)
For interview requests with Jen Marlowe or a member of the Davis family, please contact email@example.com
Advanced Praise for I Am Troy Davis:
— MAYA ANGELOU
“Like Trayvon Martin’s monumental murder, the execution of Troy Davis was a historic awakening for this country — an awakening of the deadly consequences of white supremacy. Don’t miss this book!”
— CORNEL WEST, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary
“Martina and Troy are heroes from a family of heroes. This story of their lives is also a call to action. It asks each of us to pick up where they left off by ending the death penalty once and for all so the risk of executing an innocent person is finally eliminated in America.”
— BENJAMIN TODD JEALOUS, president and CEO, NAACP
“Read this book, about Martina Davis-Correia and Troy Anthony Davis. The lives of this sister and brother were tragically cut short, one by cancer, the other through a cruel injection of a lethal, chemical cocktail in the final act of a profoundly unjust criminal justice system. This book captures their unflagging courage in confronting the challenges thrust upon them. More than history, more than eulogy, I Am Troy Davis is an urgent call to action.”
— AMY GOODMAN, host, Democracy Now!
“I Am Troy Davis is heart stopping proof that the death penalty didn’t just kill an innocent Troy Davis and break and bury his gorgeous family, but it charred the soul of America. This book will devastate you, piss you off and then inspire you to work with your life to the end the death penalty forever.”
— EVE ENSLER, playwright and activist
“In this moving and intimate portrait of Troy Davis and his courageous family, Jen Marlowe restores to Troy his humanity, and reminds us why every life matters, and why capital punishment makes this country a pariah among the world’s democracies.”
— GLORIA STEINEM, author and activist
“I Am Troy Davis is a painful yet very important book, one that will bring you face to face with the human impact of the death penalty system, prompt you to think deeply about the flaws in our criminal justice system, and inspire you to stand with all those who have been wrongfully placed on death row.”
— SUSAN SARANDON, actor and activist
“Martina Correia’s heroic fight to save her brother’s life while battling for her own serves as a powerful testament for activists.”
— LILIANA SEGURA, Nation magazine
“I Am Troy Davis takes readers on the journey of a remarkable family whose faith, love, integrity and convictions propelled their fight for their loved one and a larger cause. Jen Marlowe’s careful and sensitive collaboration with the Davises has yielded a narrative that will surely inspire readers to pick up the torch that Martina Davis Correia so bravely carried for social justice and human dignity with every ounce of her being and every day of her life.”
— LAURA MOYE, former Death Penalty Abolition Campaign Director, Amnesty International USA
“A Must Read Book – the searing, heartbreaking story of a strong and loving family caught in the vortex of a dysfunctional criminal justice system.”
— ANNE EMANUEL, Georgia State University Law Professor and ABA Georgia Death Penalty Assessment Chair