Prison Writing Competition: The Results! [Re-post]

This is a repost of an announcment originally made on 7th January 2013.  Copies of the pamphlet The Gates of Ytan, published and launched earlier this month, will be posted to all winners by the end of March.  We are also delighted to announce that an e-book version will be made available too!

We are delighted to announce the results of English PEN’s Prison Writing competition, the ‘X Factor’ for writing talent in UK prisons.

This is the second year of our writing competition. We received over 400 entries from 60 different prison estates. We received a record 62 entries from HMP Frankland who will receive a PEN writer visit in 2013.

Our judge Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time chose the themes ‘Green’, ‘A Letter’ and ‘Animal’. There was also a book review section.

The standard of submissions was extremely high, with a great diversity of writing and genres: poems, stories, memoir, essays, reviews. As Mark Haddon observed

It might seem ridiculous to judge a poem against a piece of memoir and to judge a piece of memoir against a short story. In truth it’s the easiest thing in the world. Does it make you laugh? Does it make you sad? Are you entertained? It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s unmistakable.



  • ‘The Gates of Ytan’ by Adrian Freeman, HMP Bure


  • ‘A Letter For Mr Greene’ by Robert Lodge, HMP Holme House
  • ‘Black Swans’ by John Kellow, HMP Usk
  • ‘The Green Dragon’ by Greg Pierce, HMP Albany
  • ‘The Green Hornet’ by anonymous, HMP Frankland
  • ‘A Letter To Myself’ by anonymous HMP Whitemoor
  • ‘Dear Witch’ by Jamie Forde, HMP Erlestoke
  • ‘The Letter’ by anonymous, HMP Parc
  • ‘A Letter’by Cherylin Norrell-Goldsmith, HMP Downview



  • Awoken From My Big Sleep by Nigel Cranswick, HMP Lowdham Grange


  • The Man Who Woud be King by Denzil Davies, HMP Ranby
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Anonymous, HMP Full Sutton
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Mudadiwa Chinkyoka, HMP Frankland
  • A Little Bit of Wisdom by anonymous, HMP Full Sutton
  • Thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey by Barabara Gayton, HMP Askham Grange
  • The Slap by Stephen Marsh, HMP Swaleside

There was such such a plethora of great entries that we had to choose 14 runners-up. The two winners receive £100 each, and all runners-up £10, as well as being published in a forthcoming anthology. We will also be publishing a further 20 commended writers in the final winning pamphlet in February. Copies will be sent to all the chosen writers, and will be available to download from the English PEN website.

3 Comments on “Prison Writing Competition: The Results! [Re-post]”

Comments are closed.