Oprah Winfrey has selected a prison memoir by Jarvis Jay Masters, currently on death row in San Quentin State Prison in California, for her latest book club pick. Masters' “That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row” was first published in 2009.
Activists for years have called for the release of Masters, sentenced to death in 1990 for taking part in the murder of a San Quentin prison guard. Masters, first imprisoned in 1981 for armed robbery, has filed numerous appeals in efforts to have his murder conviction overturned. A hearing is scheduled for next month in federal court.
“A little more than 10 years ago, I was given a memoir by Jarvis Jay Masters, a man serving a death row sentence in San Quentin,” Winfrey said in a statement Tuesday. “His story, of a young boy victimized by addiction, poverty, violence, the foster care system, and later the justice system, profoundly touched me then, and still does today, which is why I’m naming ‘That Bird Has My Wings’ as my latest Oprah’s Book Club selection.”
Masters said in a statement that he would be “forever grateful” to Winfrey for choosing his book.
Masters has also written “Finding Freedom: How Death Row Broke and Opened My Heart,” published in 1997.