Letter to Daily Telegraph on books in prison

Today (Wednesday, 26 March), a host of authors have written to the Daily Telegraph in support of the Howard League for Penal Reform’s campaign to reverse a Ministry of Justice ban on family and friends sending books and other essentials to prisoners.

The text of the letter and a full list of signatories is below.

SIR - We are extremely concerned at new rules that ban family and friends sending in books to prisoners. Whilst we understand that prisons must be able to apply incentives to reward good behaviour by prisoners, we do not believe that education and reading should be part of that policy. Books represent a lifeline behind bars, a way of nourishing the mind and filling the many hours that prisoners spend locked in their cells.  In an environment with no internet access and only limited library facilities, books become all the more important.

We urge the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, to reconsider the Prison Service Instruction that limits books and other essentials being sent to prisoners from family and friends.


Frances Crook, Chief Executive, The Howard League for Penal Reform
Mark Haddon
Alan Bennett
Salman Rushdie
Julian Barnes
Ian McEwan
Carol Ann Duffy
Philip Pullman
Jeffrey Archer
David Hare
Irvine Welsh
Joanne Harris
Hari Kunzru
Ian Rankin
Nick Hornby
Deborah Moggach
Ruth Padel
Mary Beard
Colin Thubron
Maggie Fergusson, Director, The Royal Society of Literature
Simon Stephens
Laura Wade
Samantha Ellis
David Edgar
Jack Thorne
John O’Farrell
Caitlin Moran
David Harsent
Linda Grant
Andrew O’Hagan
Iain Dale
David Eldridge
D.C. Moore
Caroline Moorhead
Stella Feehily
Alecky Blythe
Moira Buffini
Lucinda Coxon
Susannah Clapp
Kathryn Gray
April De Angelis
Elif Shafak
Vivienne Franzmann
Tim Gee
Colin Beveridge
Melanie McFadyean
Melanie McGrath
Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty
Jenny Diski
Stella Duffy
Janice Galloway
Jackie Kay
Darian Leader
James Robertson
Niall Griffiths
Kamila Shamsie
Kathy Lette
Terence Blacker
Alice Rawsthorn
Jenni Fagan
Blake Morrison
Tiffany Murray
Rhian Jones
Rachel Holmes
Robin Tudge
Ahdaf Soueif
Nikesh Shukla
Sophie Mayer
Nikita Lalwani
Peter Hobbs
Maggie O’Farrell
Ian Dunt
Naomi Alderman
Lise Mayer
William Fiennes
Ali Smith
Helen Walsh
Sarah Waters

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