Interested in Human Rights Law? Tonight: 17th May, 6.30.

Interested in Human Rights Law? Tonight: 17th May, 6.30.

‘Rights, Legalities and the Asylum Process’.
Speaker: Anthony Levin
Week 4, Thursday, 17th May, 6.30pm

Anthony is a human rights lawyer and journalist (as well as former comedy writer) who is also a York alumni. This is of particular relevance to law, english and politics students but also for anyone interested in human rights and current world issues.

Part of the Prison Fictions and Human Rights Project organised by Dr Michelle Kelly and Dr Claire Westall


Spotlight on: The Prisons Fictions and Human Rights Project.

I’d just like to draw attention to the York Prisons Fictions and Human Rights Project’s blog, which has typed up summaries of each of the Prisons Fictions talks this term held in the Berrick Saul Building, and convened by Dr Michelle Kelly and Dr Claire Westall. This includes the talks of Erwin James and Dr Lucy Powell, which have been advertised on this website, as well as that of Dr Robert McKay on ‘The Idea of the Animal’. Do have a look, and take some time to admire their impressive original poster designs.



Erwin James (writer and columnist for ‘The Guardian’) became the third speaker of our series on Wednesday 9th May with his talk entitled ‘My Truth about Prison’.  James recalled the years he spent as a homeless and dysfunctional youth drawn into a life of crime, eventually being convicted for murder for which he spent twenty years in prison.

Now patron for the charities ‘CREATE’ and ‘The Reader Organisation’, James emphasised the transformative power of education and the importance of being given opportunities to develop what you’re interested in (for him – English – which was a secret passion of his at school). James spoke of how developing his writing skills in prison through educational schemes allowed him to complete an Open University degree in history and enter a career in journalism, finally becoming part of a society he’d always felt excluded from as a teenager.

During questions and answers, James denied that he had been ‘rehabilitated’ during his time in prison. What prisoners need, he said, is a civilising experience in prison, and it is the attitude of society that denies individuals such a vital education. Addressing broader issues such a reoffending rates and the relationship between prisoners and guards, James acknowledged the value of the prison service in maintaining public safety but pointed towards the need of reform in the way prisoners carried out their time if they were going to be successfully reintroduced to society.

Erwin James – ‘My Truth About Prison’

6.00 Tonight – 9 May 2012. Berrick Saul Building.

Join Erwin James (Writer and Guardian Columnist) as he recounts his personal experiences when he served a jail sentence for twenty years for murder.

This event will be of particular interest to people concerned with literature and incarceration, prison fictions, literature and human
rights, journalism, professional writing, and issues around prison and education.

This event is part of the Prison Fictions and Human Rights Project organised by Claire Westall & Michelle Kelly (English Department).