York PEN’s Official Launch: Prison Fictions and Writing Imprisonment, 21st June.

3pm The Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, 21st June 2012

5.30pm Ticketed Event Bowland Lecture Theatre. Anyone with tickets will be entered into a draw to win a signed copy of a book by each author.

Tickets available at: http://prisonfictions.eventbrite.co.uk

Organised by the Prison Fictions & Human Rights Project

Funded by The University of York’s Research Led Project and Rapid Response Fund

Programme

3pm WELCOME by Dr Michelle Kelly & Dr Claire Westall

3.10pm THE INSPIRING CHANGE PROJECT: PRISON AND ART-IN-ACTION
Chairs: Claire Westall & Michelle Kelly
* Film Screening of the ‘Inspiring Change Prison Project’
* Kate Hendry, Motherwell College and HMP Shotts, explains the ‘Inspiring Change Project’
* Lynda Radley, playwright, explains her experience of working with female prisoners in HMP Greenock, Scotland, as part of the Inspiring Change Project to create a theatrical production entitled ‘A Woman’s Place’.
QUESTIONS

4.20pm LAUNCH OF YORK PEN
* York PEN, the new student group will announce themselves – in style!
* Robert Sharp, Head of Campaigns and Communications, English PEN

4.40pm
DRINKS RECEPTION, BOOK SALE & SIGNINGS, PLUS DISPLAY OF YORK PEN MATERIALS

TICKETS REQUIRED FOR 5.30pn ONWARDS (FREE & ONLINE)

5.30pm PRISON EXPERIENCES: QUESTIONS, PERSPECTIVES & REPRESENTATIONS
Chair: Dr Claire Westall
* Professor David Wilson, Birmingham City University, will be speaking about his experiences as a prison governor and his academic work on how prison is represented in popular culture and the media.
* Erwin James, writers and guardian columnist, will be speaking about his writing on imprisonment and the tensions between autobiography and the need to fictionalise.
QUESTIONS

6.30pm BREAK

6.40pm GILLIAN SLOVO – WRITING OF IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT DUE PROCESS
Introduction by Michelle Kelly and Robert Sharp, English PEN
GILLIAN SLOVO, President of English PEN, will speak about two divergent but overlapping texts about imprisonment – 117 Days, her mother’s account of detention without trial in South Africa, and a new Guantanamo memoir she is currently writing.

7.30pm CLOSE/DRINKS AND MINGLING
ALL WELCOME, ALL DAY
FREE TICKETS FOR EVENING SESSION AVAILABLE VIA FESTIVAL OF IDEAS

THE SPEAKERS

Kate Hendry, of Motherwell College, teaches Creative Writing at HMP Shotts. She has also worked in Greenock and Barlinnie prisons where she has edited and published prisoners’ writing and art work. She has compiled, in collaboration with prisoners, an anthology of contemporary Scottish poetry for prison reading groups, The Poem Goes to Prison (Edinburgh: Scottish Poetry Library, 2010). Her paper evaluating the impact of prison reading groups on prisoners’ literacy practices was published last year in the RaPAL Journal (vol 75 autumn/winter). This year she is setting up, with Lottery funding, a new national arts magazine for prisons to showcase prisoners’ creative work. Her own poetry and fiction has been published widely and can be found in Harpers, New Writing Scotland, the Bridport Prize anthology 2009, Mslexia, The Rialto and Kin: Scottish Poems about Family (Edinburgh: Polygon 2009).

Lynda Radley is an award-winning playwright. She is originally from Cork but lives and works in Scotland. Lynda has worked for companies such as the Traverse Theatre, Dundee Rep and the National Theatre of Scotland. Her work has been seen on stages from Glasgow to Cork, and from Amsterdam to Australia. In 2010, Lynda worked with female prisoners at HMP Greenock as part of the Inspiring Change Project. This project was overseen by The Citizens’ Theatre in conjunction with Motherwell College and Creative Scotland. Lynda’s play The Art of Swimming was shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth award and for a Total Theatre Award. Lynda has been nominated for a PPI Irish radio award and twice for an Irish Times Theatre award for new writing. Most recently, she won a Scotsman Fringe First for her play Futureproof. Her plays are published by Nick Hern. Berlin Love Tour – a walking tour of Berlin that can take place in any city – was recently seen at Birmingham Rep and will soon be performed at Cork Midsummer Festival. It is produced by Playgroup. http://www.lyndaradley.com

David Wilson is Professor of Criminology and the Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University. Prior to taking up an academic appointment in 1997, David was a Prison Governor and at 29 became the youngest governing governor in England. He worked at Grendon, Wormwood Scrubs and at Woodhill in Milton Keynes – where he designed and ran the two units for the 12 most violent prisoners in the country, which brought him into contact with virtually every recent serial killer. David regularly appears in the print and broadcast media as a commentator and presenter.

Erwin James Monahan embarked on a programme of part-time education in prison and gained an Open University arts degree. He developed an interest in writing and his first article for a national newspaper, The Independent, appeared in 1994. In 1995 he won first prize in the annual Koestler Awards for prose. His first article in The Guardian newspaper appeared in 1998 and he began writing a regular column for the paper entitled A Life Inside in 2000. The columns were the first of their kind in the history of British journalism and to this day James remains a Guardian columnist and contributor. A collection of his columns, A Life Inside: A Prisoner’s Notebook, was published in 2003. A follow up, The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole, was published in 2005. A year after his release from prison in 2004 James became a trustee of the Prison Reform Trust and in September 2009 he became a trustee of the Alternatives to Violence Project Britain. He is a patron of the charity CREATE, an organisation that promotes the arts and creative activities among marginalized groups. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (FRSA) and an Honorary Master of the Open University.

Gillian Slovo is the South African born author of twelve novels and her best selling family memoir Every Secret Thing. Her novel Red Dust won the RFI Temoin du Monde prize in France, and was made into a feature film starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Ice Road was short listed for Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize. She is a recipient of an Amnesty Media Award and co-compiler of the Tricycle Theatre production Guantanamo-Honour Bound to Defend Freedom which she assembled, from spoken evidence, for the Tricycle’s ‘Women, Power and Politics’ season. Her play The Riots was put on in 2011 in the Tricycle and Tottenham’s Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Gillian was elected the 25th President of English PEN in 2010, and her twelfth novel, An Honourable Man, was published in January 2012.

Books for sale at the event:
Radley’s Futureproof; Erwin James’ A Life Inside and The Home Stretch; David Wilson’s Serial Killers: Hunting Britons and their Victims; and Gillian Slovo’s Every secret thing, Red Dust, Guantanamo, The Riots and An Honourable Man.

Poster: Photography by Francesca Pollard, Design by the Prison Fictions and Human Rights Marketing Group.

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