Trapeze acquires 'utterly fresh' book on prison from ex-social worker Kirwin

Trapeze acquires 'utterly fresh' book on prison from ex-social worker Kirwin

Trapeze will publish Criminal: Stories of Prisoners and How We Treat Them by Angela Kirwin, a former prison social worker.

Jamie Coleman, publishing director, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Matilda Forbes Watson at WME. Publication is scheduled for 14th April 2022. 

Billed as a blend of memoir and polemic, Kirwin will use the stories of the men she met working in prisons to "form a portrait of a system in crisis and offer a radical reassessment of the role that prison plays in our society", the publisher said. 

Over her 10 years in social care, Kirwin worked with hundreds of prisoners and ex-offenders from some of Britain’s most notorious prisons. Her substance misuse and mental health work was praised by inspectors and she went on to secure a research fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to investigate the criminal justice systems of America and Norway. She has lectured at the University of Bristol on topics of substance misuse, mental health, homelessness and trauma informed care.

She commented: "I worked with hundreds of prisoners during my time in the prison estate – men who in so many different ways had fallen through the cracks and whose stories I had to share. In Trapeze, I have found a publisher as passionate as I am about changing the conversation around prison and prisoners and I can’t wait to get started."

Coleman said: "I was blown away by Angela’s writing. This feels like an utterly fresh representation of prison, handled with an intelligence, sensitivity and beauty I hadn’t encountered before. Readers will finish this book with an entirely transformed understanding of how and why prison doesn’t work and just why it should matter to all of us. It’s a book that deserves to be discussed in Parliament."