Emily Barrett, commissioning editor at Seven Dials and Orion Spring, has acquired world rights including dramatisation rights to a book about life inside a women’s prison by a former prison art teacher. Jailbirds: Lessons from a Women’s Prison is by Mim Skinner, who taught art in women’s prisons from 2014 to 2017.
Skinner wrote the book to challenge misconceptions. She said: “I was frustrated by the common questions: ‘Is it scary?’ and ‘Is it full of dangerous women?’, and casual, comments like, ‘We should just throw away the key.’ Of course prisons can be difficult places with difficult characters, but I have also rarely met more creative, funny and kind women. Women who have battled though some of the hardest situations life can throw at a person and who, without being offered housing and support, continue to be stuck in a cycle of victimisation and criminality.”
Barrett said: “More than shining a light on how understaffed and ineffective our prison systems are, this book is so important because it showcases how terribly we treat certain groups of women in our society, and it gives a voice to those who very rarely receive a platform. What I love about Mim’s book is that, despite how bleak the framework is, the stories are so full of resilience, love and humour.”
Jailbirds: Letters from a Women’s Prison will be published on 30th May 2019.
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