In My Defence: To raise money for two charities in which I believe and because, somewhat to my surprise, a night in a cell will be a new experience for me.
Book: Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
To Donate: http://www.justgiving.com/PatrickJansonSmith
In My Defence: I have visited several prisoners in UK and Turkey as a journalist and as guest of Howard League and have spoken to prisoners who have convinced me that it is vital to offer some hope of a useful life beyond bars. When I worked for Pen- Writers in Prison I used to help sending books to prisoners in Nigeria for example and the thrill of occasionally getting a letter back, often smuggled out of a foreign prison, is indescribable. I am now writing a book about Women in Paris during the Nazi occupation, many of whom were imprisoned in concentration camps, starved, beaten or tortured… so one night in a relatively uncomfortable bed with time to reflect on my good fortune of being released in the morning would be a powerful aid to understanding quite how barbaric the last century was and the importance of using prison to reform not punish. Etty Hillesum - A life Transformed. She knew she would die in prison or a concentration camp but still managed to write and keep her dignity.
My book is:- The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford
"My name is Clare Conville and I probably broken the law one way or another over many years but I have also escaped the law and remain unpunished probably because I'm white, middle class, largely but not wholly solvent and most crucially of all I'm literate. I'm also a Literary Agent and my life's work is to connect readers with wonderful books. As a student at Bristol University I did voluntary work as a prison-visitor going in once a fortnight to sit and talk to "lifers" as part of their rehabiliation and preparation for returning to the outside world. What was clear to me was that reading and books, an education and access to the Arts could be a lifechanger. As I talked to the extraordinarily interesting and tough men who I met, about Joyce, Beckett, Satre and Jane Austen among many others all my pre-conceptions fell away, my prisoner-friends were finding, in their reading, new horizons, the capacity for empathy and therefore personal change which hithertoe, because of the unimaginably difficult circumstances of their lives and upbringing they had not had the opportunity to embrace. I learnt, to my surprise, an enormous amount in their company. Ironically, our work was halted because we were accused of drug-smuggling, though nothing could have been further from the truth. So, I support this campaign absolutely. Anybody who works in the arts with all the extraordinary pleasures and rewards that this entails has a duty to keep the light aflame and here is your opportunity to punish me for many wrongs but crucially for my absolute belief that writers and artists can transform all our lives. Send me to the clink! Thank you for your support. photograph by Matthew Donaldson.
Jonathan Nowell Why I want to do time …
“Carpe diem” … my father would shout to me every weekday morning as he took his first steps out of our house on his well-trodden commute. In my teens “Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” became my adolescent plea to the girls from the high school across the river. And now, of a more mature age, I wish life passed a little slower to match the slowing pace of the synapsing inside my brain. What could be better for me now than a quiet night of solitude, curled up … with a book of my choice? And thanks to BTBS I have that chance.
If I had no books through which to escape and transcend these walls, I imagine I would dream. But I would dream only until the limits of my imagination became frayed. Then I would languish in a nightmare of loneliness; next I would shout to my fellows debasing their precious moments of solitude; and then to that gloom of madness shared by so many to whom books are denied.
So, come my friends, do not “forsake me like a memory lost;” for “I am the self-consumer of my woes”. Save me! Give me time and allow me a book as a true companion, then time will pass and I will not waste time.
Name of book you would take in with you to read: The Oxford Book of English Verse
“Not too many people ask for your help in sending them to prison, but this is a special case. One night in the ‘chokey’ is a small price to pay in return for helping the Book Trade Charity (BTBS) and an appropriate way of raising awareness about the ridiculous legislation to ban books for prisoners. So come on, do everyone a favour and put me away. It’s all in a very good cause. Bang me up for the book trade!”
Carole Blake Literary agents always need more time to read. As long as I could take my iPad with my manuscript pile and my editing app, I’d be very happy to be locked up for a night. And I imagine quite a few publishers might be happy to pay to see an agent incarcerated. On the other hand, I’d like to think my clients might pay to keep me free. Either way is fine with me – so long as we make lots of money for these two great charities. Bring it on! Name of book I’d take with me? Er … my iPad with hundreds! Is that allowed?
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