Reading in Prisons

Alexis McNay, Charles Darby-Villis and Ann Walmsley in interview with Josie Billington
  • Alexis McNayEmail author
  • Charles Darby-Villis
  • Josie Billington
  • Ann Walmsley


This chapter gives three different perspectives on reading in prisons, across gender (male and female prisons) and nationality (UK, Canada). Alexis McNay recounts his experience of delivering a reading group in a men’s prison in Liverpool, England, and the protected ‘thinking’ space which results. Charles Darby-Villis gives a series of practical examples of the problems and the rewards of setting up and sustaining a reading group in a women’s prison in Durham, England. Ann Walmsley gives an interview on her book, The Prison Book Club, in which she compares her experience of reading groups in high and medium security prisons in Ontario, Canada, with her continuing participation in a women’s book club in Toronto.


Book clubs Prisons Shared Reading 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexis McNay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles Darby-Villis
    • 1
  • Josie Billington
    • 2
  • Ann Walmsley
    • 3
  1. 1.The ReaderLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and SocietyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Author and JournalistTorontoCanada

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