Writer Going To Jail
Originally published on the BBC, February 2004
As Stephen Leather’s latest novel, Hard Landing, is set in a prison, he was testing his material on possibly the toughest audience of all. As part of a national tour of HM’s establishments, Stephen gave a reading from his new book at Durham prison.
This is not a first for writing and books: there’s a great deal of interest in reading and creative writing in Britain’s prisons and the outside world occasionally gets a glimpse of the inside.
Writers and theatre groups occasionally hold workshops in prisons. BBC Radio 4’s monthly show, Book Club, broadcast its programme about Tony Parsons’ book, Man and Boy, from Coldingley Prison. Readers of The Guardian newspaper might have read Erwin James’ column written from behind bars. And, even though some have questioned if he fits into the category of creative writing, let’s not forget one of our more infamous prison writers of late, Jeffrey Archer.