Thomas’ Story

A photo of a couple looking at poems from a Koestler Arts exhibition.

Koestler Arts Gave Me Something To Live For

Prior to my incarceration I spent four months in a mental health institute where I began to write poetry as a cathartic process.

When my prison journey began, I continued to write poems. It helped me to deal with where I was and the reasons why. It helped me to communicate with my family and friends. It even became a source of entertainment for me to reflect on some of the other people I encountered.

With immense trepidation I showed a couple of them to the education officer on the wing. She immediately suggested I enter them into the Koestler Awards. The net result was that one of my poems not only won an award but was also selected for display at the 2016 exhibition. This was a huge boost for my self-confidence.

My father came to the exhibition and saw a visitor copying out my poem. He was able to say with great pride, ‘My son wrote that.’ I received a total of 43 feedback cards from people who were kind enough to take the time to fill out a postcard with their reaction to my creative offering. Those feedback cards were a massive contributory factor to me still being alive and writing this piece now. I have kept every one of them.

After writing the poem, I was awarded a Koestler Mentoring scholarship and a mentor to help me develop my art.

Simply put, from an emotional wellbeing perspective, the impact Koestler Arts has had on my life cannot be overstated

Download Thomas’ full story here

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