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‘The View’ – a magazine for women in the criminal justice system

By Kate Wilmot

‘Let there be no doubt. Education should be at the heart of the prison system…If education is the engine of social mobility, it is also the engine of prison rehabilitation.’ – Dame Sally Coates, Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison

Movement
There’s a stampede of animals when movement flows
Ferocious tigers and flamboyant flamingos
Some animals go 2 X 2
Some go it alone
Walking up and off the landing
Is like walking trough a jungle
When movement flows
Don’t be late
Try not to get trampled on
And stay on the straight road
Because anything can happen when movement flows

- By Marshmellow, a prisoner at HMP Downview

The View Magazine is a campaigning platform and social enterprise, which is by and for women in the criminal justice system. We give a voice to women who may be silenced by imprisonment and ensuing social death.

Writing and creativity are not only cathartic, but are recognized as a way out of offending behaviour. According to an assessment of the English and Maths skills levels of prisoners in England, 86% have below L2 literacy (Brian Creese, November 2016) . It is therefore vital that writing opportunities are available in prisons to tackle this major deficit.

It is also the case that a high proportion of women from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who have experienced domestic abuse in the criminal justice system and been unfairly ignored, as touched upon in the report We are Invisible . Better practice in the courts, police, caseworkers and legal practitioners is very much needed, adding to the growing body of evidence that prison is rarely the answer for women. There are better community-based solutions that need to be properly funded.

Founded in 2019, The View publishes content from incarcerated women and those on license in the community, highlighting the injustices they are facing, with particular emphasis on those from minority ethnic backgrounds and women who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. We are examining how women who have survived abuse and trauma are being let down by the very services meant to protect them, and how they end up being criminalised.

Our summer issue includes guest writers such as Zoe Buckman, Ruby Tandoh and Bee Wilson. Zoe Buckman is a former model who is now an artist and activist who explores themes of feminism, mortality and equality when talking about domestic violence through the concept of “ride or die”.

Content by and for women prisoners is uncensored, shining a light on the conditions in women’s prisons and the daily injustices that they face.  All content submitted by prisoners is paid for and is available for the prisoner to spend upon release for resettlement purposes. Any women in prison in England can also get a copy of the magazine, and at no charge. The magazine is available at 93 outlets in England and by subscription at


To find out more about The View, visit https://theviewmag.org.uk/

To contribute to their active crowdfunding, visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-justice-refomers

Bridging the Gaps in the Publishing Industry

byFrances Golinski Drinkwater

The publishing industry is broad and ever-changing, attracting book-lovers and academics alike – anyone with a creative mind and an interest in communicating important ideas. The industry has faced huge pressures in recent decades, with rapid changes due to increasing use of technology: fewer people are now reading fiction – book sales in this sector fallen by 23% since 2012, and more people are accessing content online (digital sales increased by 6% in 2016 and now account for 35% of total revenues). Nevertheless, publishing, whether in books or magazines, is still a great place to work, offering wide range of roles in a changing industry.

However, publishing faces two major problems: it is highly competitive and there is a distinct lack of diversity – both in the writers being published and the professionals working within the industry. Perhaps surprisingly, publishing has a higher applicant-position ratio than both finance and law, so competition for jobs is tough. Without training, industry knowledge and work experience, even competent university graduates struggle to find paid work in the industry. Applicants may find themselves stuck in that common cycle of lack of experience leading to no job offers leading to lack of experience. Even those who do manage to land an internship, will likely find that it’s unpaid, favouring more privileged individuals who can afford to work for free. The statistics speak for themselves: in 2017, bookcareers.com surveyed more than 1,000 people and found that more than 90% currently working in the industry classify themselves as white British.

Its not just the people who work in the industry who are overwhelmingly white – its also the writers they publish? In 2016 World Book Night, organised by the UK charity The Reading Agency, was criticised for its all-white author’s list of 15 giveaway books (their 2018 list is just slightly better, with 5 out of 23 writers of colour). World Book Day also issued its own all-white list of authors in Autumn 2016, along with the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature, who similarly failed to nominate any writers of colour to a longlist of 20.

Arkbound, the ‘publisher that has social enterprise at its heart’ confronts both of these problems. Founded in 2015, the Bristol-based publisher is dedicated to supporting aspiring writers and publishing professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Arkbound publishes authors who experience barriers to the industry – especially writers with an important message about society or the environment. It also helps individuals to launch careers in publishing.

Along with a small group of publishers across the UK, Arkbound has developed the Publishing Excellence Programme, which offers candidates valuable information about the publishing industry and teaches practical skills like proofreading, copy-editing, getting ISBN codes and contacting and networking with retailers. Candidates receive one to one tuition in the basics of both book and magazine publishing, they are assessed at the end of the course, and leave with a full reference, in-depth report and certificate. Arkbound also ensures that candidates are fully supported after finishing the course; those who complete the Programme will also be the first to be considered for any publishing positions and internships. Gradutates of the course may also be referred on to other, non participating publishers. In some cases, candidates may be directly recruited by a delivery partner after the course. In line with their commitment to improving access to and diversity in the industry, Arkbound can sponsor applicants from disadvantaged groups to cover the full cost of the course and their expenses.

The initiative is unique in combatting some of the barriers to entry in the publishing industry and providing practical and tangible results.

Arkbound also has an exciting new release from a ground breaking writer of children’s literature. Odiri Ighamre’s debut book Arcadia is a beautifully illustrated children’s story which celebrates the beauty of Africa’s natural environment and asserts the importance of conserving this beauty. Through the character of Timone, the story introduces children to contemporary environmental issues whilst celebrating diversity and imagining a truly magical fictional place.

Whilst it’s impossible to authentically tell stories which reflect the experience of every community in every part of the world, nevertheless barriers in the publishing industry are starting to be broken down. Hopefully publishers like Arkbound can play their part: by making a wider diversity of great and exciting literature more accessible to their readers, and also by opening up the publishing industry which supports it, to a more diverse workforce.

More information about the Publishing Excellence Programme
Buy Arcadia

Three Bristolian Authors You Should Know About

Words by Polly Hember

Arkbound started out in Bristol, with the aim to build futures and bridge divides in the publishing world. Publishing a community content magazine Vocalise, and with many of Arkbound’s titles written by Bristolians, Bristol will always be close to Arkbound’s heart.

Bristol is a beautiful, diverse and inspiring city. Fostering artists like Damien Hurst and Banksy, Bristol is known for it’s art scene. Celebrating Bristol’s creativity, we’ve got a list of Bristol-grown authors.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling | Medium.com

Born in Yate, just outside of Bristol. She lived just south of a small town called Dursley (sound familiar?). Her Harry Potter books have charmed an entire generation, and continue to spellbound new readers. Inspired by some of her neighbours, she told Newsround that the name Potter came ‘from people who lived down the road from me in Winterbourne […] I liked the surname so I took it, I didn’t take anything else from that family’. She wrote the infamous pages in Edinburgh, and is hailed as one the most successful authors of all time, and surely Bristol’s most famous daughter.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse | The Daily Mail

At forty, Amanda Prowse became a full time writer and penned Poppy Day, the story of an army wife whose incredible love for her husband gives her courage to rescue him from hostages in Afghanistan. Then came the Number #1 Bestseller What Have I Done? Now she has ten novels and four novellas published. Focusing on contemporary love stories with relatable female protagonists, this Bristol based author is currently working on her new series No Greater Courage.

Nathan Filer

Nathan Filer | Nathan Filer.com

Nathan Filer originally trained and worked as a mental health nurse, then later as a mental health researcher at the University of Bristol. Starting out as a writer, he performed as a stand-up poet and featured at many of the UK’s poetry nights and festivals. His poems have also been broadcast on BBC’s radio 4’s Bespoken Word and Wondermentalist Cabaret. In 2005 his poetry short film Oedipus won the BBC Best New Filmmaker Award and Berlin’s Zebra Poetry Film Award. His debut novel The Shock of the Fall describes the life of a young man with schizophrenia. Published in 2013, it received widespread critical acclaim, winning The Costa Book of the Year, The Betty Trask Prize, The National Book Award for Popular Fiction and The Writer’s Guild Award for Best First Novel. It is a Sunday Times Bestseller and has been translated into thirty different languages.