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From The Big House To The Small Screen

Piper Kerman discusses the Netflix adaptation of her prison memoir, ”Orange Is the New Black” — and why she won’t write a sequel

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Your 2010 book, Orange Is the New Black, detailed your 13-month incarceration for money laundering and the youthful lesbian affair with a drug dealer that led to it. Did you have qualms about it being adapted for TV?
I had some qualms when I was completing the book, [but] I guess because the book was already out there I had fewer qualms about the show. The process of adaptation is nerve-racking because you basically give another creative person the right to change your story. [Laughs] And there are lots of changes. But [Orange exec producer] Jenji Kohan is a person who inspires confidence.

What was it like visiting the prison set?
I had this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was so strange to walk onto something that was such a phenomenal re-creation, even though you can see it’s all artifice.

What have you been doing since the publication of the book?
I am a consultant to nonprofits and philanthropies, and in recent years I have been working exclusively with folks who are working on reforming the criminal-justice system. So that’s extremely rewarding work.

Is it true someone suggested that you return to prison so you could write a sequel?
The week the book came out, I got a very nice email from a man and he closed with ”I loved this so much, I hope you go back to prison and write another book.” I was like, That’s such a sweet sentiment.

But presumably not a suggestion you’re going to be acting upon.
Oh my God, I hope not.