RISE rises in Manchester and Durham

Our RISE (Reading in Secure Environments) project has started in great style – this week saw our final event this year in partnership with Manchester Literature Festival, with Jackie Kay reading in HMP Styal on Tuesday. Jackie featured as part of RISE in Manchester alongside Inua Ellams and Joe Dunthorne, who both appeared earlier in the month on the launch day of RISE at Prestwich Hospital and a Greater Manchester Probation Service approved premises respectively. There were some wonderful responses to the authors’ readings from the audiences at all of the events: here are just some excerpts, you can read the full story on all of the events over on the RISE blog:

The audience, for the most part, were taken aback and sat in silence. After two or three poems the room was still silent, but a silence of rapt attention. The body language of the boy opposite me changed over the course of the reading from that of a disinterested teenager to alert focus. – Charlie Darby-Villis at Inua Ellams, Prestwich Hospital

One of the hostel reading group members who really enjoyed Joe’s second novel, Wild Abandon, and got it signed, wanted to know if he had ever lived in a commune, where the novel is set. Joe hasn’t but has stayed in several, from the bucolic hippy dream to the corporate incarnation (£600 a week to work in the garden and kitchen). – Maura Kennedy at Joe Dunthorne, a Greater Manchester Probation Services’ approved premises

There’s no rest for RISE, as no sooner have we said farewell to Manchester than our next RISE partnership with Durham Book Festival begins. Later on today, Jean Sprackland is visiting HMP Low Newton – you can see how our Get Into Reading groups there have already been enjoying Jean’s work by reading our Featured Poem post featuring her poem Mattresses – and next Monday 29th October, it will be Michael Stewart’s turn to read to the audience at HMP Low Newton.

Jean and Michael will also both be appearing at public events as part of the Durham Book Festival: on Saturday 27th, Jean will appear alongside Ruth Padel in The Narratives of Nature and the following day – Sunday 28th – Michael Stewart will be with Stephen May and Annabel Pitcher, talking about the subject of Coming of Age. Both events are taking place at Durham Town Hall and more information can be found on the Durham Book Festival website.

If you’re going along to hear Jean or Michael at either of their public events, we’d really love to hear what you think – head over to the RISE blog to share your thoughts and comments. You can also tweet us your thoughts on your way home: just tweet #RISE @thereaderorg.

Be sure to visit the RISE blog regularly to get all the reaction from the RISE events as well as all the latest information about the project, including upcoming news about the RISE partnership with Sefton Celebrates Writing Festival in November.

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