Siobhan Dowd

Jiang Qisheng

FOR THE LAST fifteen years, the English Centre of PEN has boasted a small committee of stalwart members who regularly send books, donated by publishers, to writers around the world who are imprisoned for what they have written or said. It is not the most inspiring job: packing j@ bags, enclosing notes of good wishes and sending them to a prison address in a farflung country. ~nevitablys, ome parcels go astray. Some are returned marked ‘inconnu’. Some vanish into a void. Some get as far as the prison and no further. Occasionally the books do reach the addressee. A corres~ondence might arise, a friendship form, and the book Aght be folloGed by others, answering the prisoner’s requests. Dictionaries and phrase books are the most popular, as the prisoner and his cellmates use the opportunity to improve their English.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'To be clever without wanting to glory in it, put dimmer people down or make an act of covering it up (viz Boris Jo… ,
    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,