Friday, 12 August 2022

Prisoner’s book club breaks down barriers

A PROJECT is helping to break down barriers between prisoners and their community through shared reading.

It is a joint initiative between the Oxfordshire County Council library at Huntercombe Prison in Nuffield, the National Literacy Trust and the Soha housing association.

The Breaking Barriers Book Club has involved group of Soha staff and residents in the prison library reading group to discuss Pigeon English, a novel by author Stephen Kelman.

Twenty prisoners and 10 Soha staff and residents have been taking part in the project, meeting at the prison to share thoughts on the book with one another in an effort to build bridges between them.

Pigeon English is one of the books given to prisoners throughout England and Wales for free as part of the Trust’s Books Unlocked programme.

The group held its last reading session on July 25, when Mr Kelman visited the group to celebrate their work. He read from Pigeon English and answered questions about it and his work as an author.

He said: “Working with the Books Unlocked programme has been a huge privilege for me, allowing me to witness first-hand the restorative role literature can play in the prison environment.”

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