Writer Femi Martin leads the final workshops in the English PEN flash fiction project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund
In June, prisoners at HMP Isis in London will have the opportunity to take part in a short series of workshops led by the acclaimed flash fiction writer and performer, Femi Martin. Part of a Big Lottery-funded initiative, this project developed English PEN’s prison programme by using shorter fiction to encourage younger writers.
Due to the popularity of flash fiction, particularly amongst younger prisoners, English PEN introduced this short form of writing into its annual prison writing competition. Some of the best and most exciting examples of flash fiction writing by prisoners can be seen in Running to Stand Still, the latest collection of competition winners.
The poet and short story writer, Courttia Newland led an earlier workshop as part of English PEN’s general prison programme, at the high security HMP Full Sutton in North Yorkshire. The writer-in-residence at the prison said that this workshop was, ‘by far and away one of the best visits we’ve ever had… [T]here were people in the room who are considered to be some of the ‘most challenging’ prisoners in the whole estate and …[it was great] seeing everyone joining in, asking questions, sharing ideas and truly listening.’