Prime Minister responds to the Books for Prisoners campaign

Prime Minister David Cameron responds to our concerns over the ongoing restrictions on prisoners in the UK receiving books from friends and family

In June 2014, English PEN joined leading authors and the Howard League for Penal Reform to take the ongoing Books for Prisoners campaign to Downing Street. Authors including our Honorary Vice President Rachel Billington, Mark Haddon, Sir David Hare, and A L Kennedy joined a peaceful gathering before handing  in a letter signed by more than 40 writers  to 10 Downing Street. The letter called on the prime minister ‘to reverse this harmful policy at the earliest opportunity’ and requested a meeting to discuss the matter further.


We have since received a disappointing response from the prime minister who, like Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, has refused to meet campaigners to discuss our concerns.

Read the letter in full here.

We will be continuing to protest these restrictions in the hope that the government will acknowledge that the policy is misguided – as the Labour party has – and review it. In the meantime, if you would be interested in donating a book to the Book Rooms at Wormwood Scrubs or in making a donation to help us continue our vital work taking writers and books into prisoners, please email

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