Welcome to RISE (Reading in Secure Environments), an exciting new pilot project between The Reader Organisation and literature festivals across the country.
RISE is funded by Arts Council England and will bring high-quality, challenging contemporary writers to readers in secure criminal justice and mental health care settings in partnership with an exciting range of literature festivals around the UK.
The first RISE authors are Joe Dunthorne visiting one of Greater Manchester Probation Service’s approved premises; Inua Ellams at a secure ward in Prestwich Hospital; and Jackie Kay at HMP Styal, all during the Manchester Literature Festival; with Jean Sprackland and Michael Stewart both visiting HMP Low Newton as part of the Durham Book Festival.
RISE forges the link between these dynamic annual literature festivals and the work The Reader Organisation does year-round in a variety of mental health care and criminal justice sites by bringing authors directly to readers who could not otherwise attend festival events. Each guest author will appear in the public festival as well as in the secure site, thereby providing a link between audiences.
“I have always wanted to attend a book festival and never thought that the first one I attended would be in prison. The presence of the authors gives a unique insight into the books and an author reading their own work is inspiring. All of the events this week have reminded me that we are still part of society.” Get Into Reading group member, HMP Low Newton.
Across the country, members of The Reader Organisation’s read aloud, shared reading project Get Into Reading, including those in secure settings, share classic and contemporary literature, enabling social and imaginative connections to be made. Get Into Reading hosts work to create stimulating, friendly and non-pressured environments, where shared meanings are established across social, educational and cultural boundaries.
“The reading group takes you away to another place.” Get Into Reading group member, HMP Low Newton
Full details of RISE author public events during the Manchester and Durham Festivals and the full festival programmes are available on the Manchester Literature Festival and Durham Book Festival websites.
We’ll be keeping you up to date on these and the RISE author events held during the Sefton Celebrates Writing Festival, in association with Writing on the Wall (November 2012), Words Together Festival in Wigan (April 2013), Writing on the Wall in Liverpool (May 2013) and the London Literature Festival 2013 (dates to be announced).
We’ll be sharing responses from the audiences at the RISE events on our dedicated RISE blog, where you’ll also find excerpts from the featured authors work and all the latest information about the RISE events. If you’re attending any of the public events that feature the RISE authors, we also want to hear your thoughts about their work on the blog – head over to share your comments.