When Ann Walmsley was asked to take part in a book club in a men’s prison, she was initially anxious: after a violent mugging a few years before, could she really cope being surrounded by violent criminals? Luckily, curiosity got the better of her, and she signed up for eighteen months of meetings with heavily tattooed inmates, talking about books ranging from The Grapes of Wrath to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But this wasn’t your typical book club – there was no wine and cheese, plush furniture or superficial chat about recent holidays. Classic works of fiction and non-fiction became springboards for frank discussions about loss, anger, redemption and loneliness, and for the men a prized oasis in which to regain a sense of humanity.
In this heart-warming example of the rehabilitative power of reading, follow Graham the biker, Frank the gunman, Ben and Dread the drug dealers, and the robber duo Gaston and Peter as they share ideas and reveal their life stories. The Prison Book Club is unlike anything you’ve read before.
Ann Walmsley is a magazine journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as TheGlobe and Mail Report on Business Magazine and Maclean’s. She is the recipient of four National Magazine Awards, a Canadian Business Journalism Award and two International Regional Magazine Awards. A former book review columnist, she founded her first book club at age nine and has been a member of five other book clubs in Canada and the UK. She lives in Toronto.
'This book is a testament to what reading together can do in prison...Walmsley shows how reading and rehabilitation can go hand-in-hand'.
'Reveals the redemptive power of reading, with unexpected and morally acute insights'.
– The Lady
'I loved this book! What a powerful testament to the magic of story-telling.'
– Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
‘Explores the intriguing tension between the lives of incarcerated men and the liberating effects of reading great books. A terrific read that offers a glimpse into a world that is at once constricted yet capable of great emotional generosity.’
– Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo and The Confabulist
‘A soulful exploration of men’s hearts and minds, The Prison Book Club offers a unique window into inmates’ lives. Funny and full of insight, Walmsley brings her best to the job at hand, winning us with tenderness. A wonderful read.’
– Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of the bestselling Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and
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