James Patterson to address inmates of HMP Wandsworth
One of the London’s grim Victorian prisons is to host an unusual virtual literary event on 14 February when bestselling author James Patterson will address inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Wandsworth. He will be interviewed by David Kendall, co-director of Penned-Up which runs book festivals in prisons, in a live interview broadcast on Radio Wanno, the prison’s own radio station.
The event will be the culmination of a ‘whole prison read’ initiative in which HMP Wandsworth inmates are encouraged to read Patterson’s Triple Cross before the event. Copies of the book have been gifted to the prison by the book’s publisher, Century, part of Penguin Random House (PRH).
The station will also broadcast the audiobook and will be heard in other London prisons, among them HMP Brixton, HMP Pentonville and HMP Isis.
The initiative is organised by Century in partnership with Prison Reading Groups (PRG), Give a Book and Books for First Nighters. Last year Penguin Random House UK and PRG donated 2,951 books to reading groups for prisoners and family reading initiatives for prisoners and their children.
Prison Reading Groups was set up in 1999 to help start, fund and support reading groups in prisons. Since 2017 it has been part of registered charity Give a Book. It now runs groups in over 50 UK prisons nationwide and supplies more than 3000 books a year to support them. It also supports Family Days and family reading initiatives in more than 50 prisons across the country.
HMP Wandsworth was built in 1851 and is famously the prison in which the playwright Oscar Wilde was held before his transfer to Reading Gaol.