Prison book ban: Literary figures in lock-up protest

Bestselling authors Kathy Lette and Mark Billingham will be among top literary figures competing to be locked up for the night in protest at the government's prison book ban.

Dozens of figures from the literary and arts world are expected to attend a charity auction for the Books for Prisoners campaign, hosted by Pavillion Books on June 19th.

Leading publishers, editors and booksellers will all bid to be among one of six people spending a night in the famous Old West London Magistrate Court cells.

Chris Grayling implemented a ban on prisoners being sent items including books and underwear last year.

The campaign against the ban has gathered increasing support from figures including Alan Bennett, Carol Ann Duffy, Salmon Rushdie and even Pussy Riot in the months ever since first published a piece on the issue by the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook.

The piece quickly went viral online and has caused widespread debate about the issue. The Labour party have since pledged to scrap the ban if they form the next government.

"A book can be a real lifesaver if you are locked in a prison cell for weeks, months or years," Crook said today.

"Reading books also go hand in hand with education, with rehabilitation, with humanity.  If we want to encourage prisoners to read then allowing loved ones to send in books and other essentials to prisoners is surely to be welcomed."

"The Howard League is therefore delighted that Pavilion Books has organised this fundraiser and we hope the government will take note that the publishing world is not impressed with its spurious arguments and obstructive attitude to our campaign."

All money raised at the event will go to the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Book Trade Charity to support their work to highlight the Books for Prisoners campaign.

You can donate to the campaign at: