Emmy Nominee 'Orange is the New Black' Based on Danbury Prison - NBC Connecticut
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Emmy Nominee 'Orange is the New Black' Based on Danbury Prison



    Emmy Nominee 'Orange is the New Black' Based on Danbury Prison
    This image released by Netflix shows Taylor Schilling, left, and Uzo Aduba in a scene from "Orange is the New Black." (AP Photo/Netflix, Paul Schiraldi)

    Living happily with her fiancé in a New York apartment with a good job, life is good for a woman named Piper, but everything changes when federal agents knock on her door about her brief involvement in drug trafficking years ago and she ends up in a federal women's prison.

    You may recognize that as Piper Chapman's storyline in popular Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," which has several nominations for Monday's Primetime Emmys.

    But that also describes the real-life story of Piper Kerman, who wrote the memoir, "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison" about the time she served in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury. The Netflix series is based on her book.

    The New York Times Bestseller  was published in paperback in 2011, according to amazon.com.

    "Even before I sat down to write, as soon as I got home, people wanted to hear – in great detail – about the experience. There was a clear appetite for insight into this hidden world, which was really encouraging," Kerman said in a reader's guide question and answer section included in the back of the book. "I think people are fascinated by prison. And the very dramatic fact of transgression and punishmentis engrossing, regardless of whether it's men or women."

    Kerman told NPR in 2013 that the Netflix series took liberties with the plot and characters in adapting her life experiences into a fictional show. But she told the public radio station that certain moments from her life are close to accurately portrayed in the show, such as her boyfriend's proposal and the experience of having to share a jail cell with the ex-girlfriend involved in the drug trafficking activities that landed her in prison.

    She also said in the Q&A in her book that her experience in the Danbury correctional facility was "dramatically different from the popular conception and prevailing narrative about prison" and that "it's important for people who have been prisoners to have a voice, and to say in a more authentic way what life is really like."

    Kerman didn't write a daily journal while she was at the Danbury prison, but she said in the book's Q&A materials that she referred back to letters she wrote to friends and family while in prison in crafting her memoir.

    The author, who the Piper Chapman character is based on in Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" series, told the LA Times in 2013 that she read the scripts from the first season and gave the screenwriters her input. The show's creator, Jenji Kohan is also known for creating the show, "Weeds." More information about the book is available on Kerman's website.

    "Orange is the New Black" has multiple Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, according to the Emmys website. Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper, is a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series up against Lena Dunham ("Girls"), Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly"), Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"), Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation") and Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep"). Other actresses from the show with nominations include Kate Mulgrew (Galina 'Red' Reznikov) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Natasha Lyonne (Nicky Nichols) for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

    The Emmys, hosted by Seth Meyers, will air on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

    Click here for more coverage on the Emmys. You can also cast your predictions of who will win awards by playing the Emmy Awards Ballot Challenge on the NBC Connecticut website.

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