Poetry is the biggest category in the annual Koestler Awards, receiving nearly 1000 entries a year. While art materials can be difficult to get hold of in prison, everyone is entitled to paper and something to write with.
Edited by Martha Sprackland, Koestler Voices: New Poetry from Prisons Vol. 3 gathers together 50 poems from the 2020 and 2021 Koestler Awards, showcasing just some of the inspiring poetry written by people in the criminal justice system.
This year’s publication features a foreword by Jackie Kay, award-winning author of—among other books—The Adoption Papers, Red Dust Road, Trumpet, and Fiere and former Scots Makar, the National Poet for Scotland.
“It is brave to write the words you cannot speak and brave to let others read them. Coming from the inside, up and down the country, the poems offer small chinks of light, shine the torch on vivid memories, show us what the poets have held dear, remind us that we are all defined by love and by loss.”