Prisoners’ “Inside Stories” scoop five Koestler Awards

Tales from the Other Side, a wonderful collection of short stories written, recorded, illustrated and set to music by a group of prisoners during our Inside Stories project, has been recognised with five Koestler Awards.

The prizes are awarded by Koestler Arts, a charity dedicated to awarding, exhibiting and selling artwork by prisoners, detainees and secure patients. 

Our Inside Stories project gives prisoners 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, which they then set to music in groups. The project enables them to build creativity, teamwork, communication and arts skills that they can use with their children during prison visits and on release, enhancing connectivity and wellbeing.

“I really enjoyed it because it was for my little girl. It taught me how to think outside the box and use my imagination.”

Following their fathers’ 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, and enabling them to have a very personal part of their Dad at home. The Ministry of Justice has found that sustaining family ties makes it easier for prisoners to reintegrate into society and increases their chance of finding a job and stable accommodation on release.

I’m delighted to share The Nightmare Warrior, which won a Bronze Mixed Media Koestler Award:

“This project has helped my partner, children and parents feel more relaxed and positive about my time in prison.”

Since 2012, work made during our prison projects across the UK has been recognised with 100 Koestler Awards, recognising the creativity, imagination and talent of dozens of prisoners. We are incredibly proud of them all.

Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive

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