Books for Prisoners – Enoh Meyomesse


To mark this year’s World Book Night and highlight our ongoing Books for Prisoners campaign over restrictions on UK prisoners receiving books, English PEN asked writers at risk around the world about the role books play in detention. Here one of our current focus cases, the imprisoned writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse, writes powerfully on the importance of receiving books in prison

I am one of the many people who has benefited from the books sent to prisoners all over the world by English PEN. They have brought me an irreplaceable joy and huge moral support whilst in Kondengui Prison. They have proven to me that, while my biological family has abandoned me, there exists another family – perhaps even more important – a literary family, a family of novelists and poets like me, which is always beside me and will never abandon me.

I am thankful that English PEN continues to nourish the spirits of those in distress throughout the world, of which I am just one, by continuing to send books. They are like oxygen, they cannot be replaced.

Sincerely yours,
Enoh Meyomesse,
Prisoner at the Yaounde Central Prison.


Translated by Bergeline Domou and Cat Lucas


Je fais partie des nombreuses personnes qui ont bénéficié des livres envoyés aux prisonniers à travers le monde par englishpen. Ils m’ont été d’un soutien irremplaçable, car ils m’ont apporté un immense réconfort moral, du fond de ma geôle de la prison de Kondengui à Yaoundé au Cameroun. Ils m’ont démontré que, pendant que ma propre famille biologique m’avait abandonné, il existait une autre famille, finalement plus importante, la famille littéraire, la famille des romanciers et des poètes comme moi, qui elle, se trouve à mes côtés, ne m’abandonne pas, et ne m’abandonnera jamais.

De grâce, qu’English PEN continue à nourrir l’esprit de personnes en détresse à travers le monde ainsi que je le suis, en n’arrêtant pas de leur faire parvenir des livres. Ceux-ci constituent pour eux, un oxygène irremplaçable.


About the author

Imprisoned writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse is currently the focus of a major English PEN campaign. More details of his case and how to show your support are available here.

Enoh is also one of the many writers at risk we are sending books to as part of this year’s World Book Night celebrations. Find out more and get involved here.





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Cameroon: Enoh Meyomesse released from prison - English PEN

[…] Enoh Meyomesse has been a major focus for English PEN’s Writers at Risk Programme and we are overjoyed that he has finally been released from prison. PEN and our supporters stood with Enoh throughout his detention – lobbying the Cameroonian authorities; sending books and messages of support; providing writing materials when he was prevented from accessing the computer rooms; securing and delivering relief grants and other essential funds; staying in close contact with his friends and supporters on the ground; urging British representatives in Cameroon – successfully – to attend trial hearings; and by translating, crowd-sourcing translations, and publishing his extraordinary writing.  In turn, Enoh added his voice to our Books for Prisoners Campaign, which called for UK prisoners to be allowed to receive books from loved ones in the post, writing a piece in support of the campaign directly from his prison cell. […]

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