5 Things Teaching Creative Writing in Prisons Taught Me – at Penguin.co.uk (and Publication Day!)

As part of my book birthday celebrations, I wrote about teaching creative writing in prisons for the Penguin website. It’s about words and women and creativity and freedom. It’s very close to my heart. Enjoy! x

1. It can happen to anyone

When I tell people I’ve visited prisons, the first thing they say is ‘what were they like?’ They say it as if ‘they’ might be monsters, or aliens. But ‘they’ are no different from ‘us’. I’ve met clever women, funny and creative and curious women, women of all ages, races and backgrounds, women who can write and speak with serious aplomb; they also happen to be in prison. Many of these women have experienced serious difficulties — domestic and childhood abuse, poverty, addiction — but they are all individuals. When writing All the Good Things, one of my main concerns was to make Beth and the other women she meets in prison as unique  as possible. I want readers to see themselves in these characters, or the selves they could so easily be were a few things to go wrong.

Read the rest here.

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