Storybooks made by young fathers in prison as part of our Inside Stories project have, for the second year in a row, won a remarkable amount of prizes at the Koestler Awards.
This year our participants’ work has been recognised with 22 Koestler Awards, following the 18 won in 2015, bringing to 60 the total number of awards received since 2012. These prestigious accolades are presented by Koestler Trust, an organisation dedicated to awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients.
Our Inside Stories programme gives offenders aged 18-25 the opportunity to produce illustrated stories and music for their children. Working under the guidance of our professional writer, visual artist and musicians, they work in pairs to write, record and illustrate original stories before working as a group to set these to music. Following their performance in the prison during a special family visit, the children receive a copy of the professionally produced storybook and CD, helping to maintain the bond between parent and child.
The Ministry of Justice has found that sustaining family ties makes it easier for offenders to reintegrate into society and increases their chance of finding a job and stable accommodation once they are released. One of our participants told us:
“I thought Inside Stories would be a good opportunity to do something to show my family I am thinking about them all the time and being productive with my time in prison. I hope when my girl sees this book it’ll make her think I can be a good dad. I think my family feel proud of me for doing this.
“This project has helped my partner, children and parents feel more relaxed and positive about my time in prison. It helps them think about me being productive, becoming a good man. Maybe in the past I wouldn’t have done something nice like this for my loved ones, so it helps me show them how much I care for them.”
To celebrate these 22 incredible achievements, I am delighted to share The Tiger Who Lost Her Stripes. This was awarded the First Time Entrant award for Spoken Word and Bronze in the Flash Fiction & Short Story category.
I hope you are as inspired as I am.
Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive
The Tiger Who Lost Her Stripes
Amelia the litter tiger got ready for her daily walk around her favourite place in the whole world, the zoo she called home.
She walked past the pond and she was struck by her reflection. She looked all around but Amelia’s stripes were nowhere to be found.
Ava the zebra saw sad Amelia. She asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I lost my stripes.”
“Would you like to try on my stripes?”
“Could I?” said Amelia. Amelia tried Ava’s stripes but they didn’t look right.
Alyzah the giraffe saw sad Amelia. She asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I lost my stripes.”
“Would you like to try on my patches?”
“Could I?” said Amelia. Amelia tried Alyzah’s patches but they didn’t look right.
“I’m never gonna find my stripes!” said Amelia.
“Don’t give up,” said Ava.
“We will help you,” said Alyzah.
The bush started to move. Lenny the lion jumped out.
“What you doing hiding?” said Ava.
“Better yet, what you doing with stripes?” said Alyzah.
“Sorry,” said Lenny. “I just wanted to know what it’s like to have something special.”
“You are special, you’re a lion. You’ve got a mane!” said Amelia.
“How about you wear my stripes for the day and I’ll wear your mane?”
They went and played in the wonderful zoo they called home.