Newham Bookshop logo (2015)

Now open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm

We are now welcoming up to two customers at a time in the Adults’ shop, and up to two in the Children’s shop. Please wear face masks, to keep us all safe.
Collect books
Talk to us about
book choices
Card payments only
Order books by email to
or call 020 8552 9993.
Thank you for all your continuing support.
Opening hours, two customers, masks
Regional Winner

Thursday 26 September at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

Prison: A Survival Guide
Prison: A Survival Guide
is published in paperback
by Penguin at £8.99.

“It’s irresponsible, it makes a mockery of our criminal justice system and proves the Government must reform our prisons and make them tough and unpleasant places.” – Priti Patel MP, the new home secretary.

Buy ticket online
Tickets £6 online
Newham Bookshop

The Wanstead Tap logo
“One of London’s largest selections of craft beers and a range of local, small batch spirits. We pride ourselves on buying limited-release gins and vodkas as well as a range of mixers to suit every taste.”

The cult guide to UK prisons, now fully updated, featuring
contributions from female and LGBTQI prisoners, as well
as from family on the outside.

Carl Cattermole
Prison: A Survival Guide

Carl Cattermole is in conversation with
Deborah Coles, executive director of INQUEST


  • ●  Blood – but not as much as you might imagine
  • ●  Sweat – and the prisons no longer provide soap
  • ●  Tears – because prison has created a mental health crisis
  • ●  Humanity – and how to stop the institution destroying it

When Carl Cattermole was given a prsion sentence, he quickly learned that, in order to get by in prison’s unique environment, he’d need to learn a few ground rules. In this essential guide to serving time, he tells you everything you need to know about surviving prison.

From the first day on the wing to the daily grind of meals, jobs and relationships with the outside, as well as navigating the people, procedures and potential dangers of prison life, it’s an indispensable guide to life inside. You’ll learn how to cook curry in a kettle, how to stay free in your mind, how to provide love for your children and how to navigate the sea of acronyms. Both hard-hitting and humorous, it shows that prison is emotional, complicated and diverse in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Already an insider phenomenon with over 300,000 downloads, this edition of Prison: A Survival Guide is fully revised and updated and is by far the most inclusive book on the subject. It features four new expert voices in addition to Carl’s own expertise: Sarah Jane Baker, a prisoner from the LGBTQ+ community; Julia Howard, a female parent inside; JoJo Mtumbe, a child coping with a parent behind bars; and Lisa Selby, a partner supporting a serving ex-addict.

The definitive guide to UK prisons is an emotional and funny but a truly practical resource for prisoners, their families, legal professionals, tax payers and clueless politicians alike.

The first and second editions of Prison: A Survival Guide were self-published in 2011 and 2015 by Carl Cattermole.

“Essential reading.” – Will Self

“A must read for sociologists… academic practice can learn a lot from this” – Sociological Journal.

“We’re in the justice dark ages and Cattermole’s great book switches on the lights.” – Dr Theo Kindynis, lecturer in criminology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

“Anyone who reads this will be better informed, more in touch with their loved ones, more likely to request a prison lawyer when faced with adjudication, more equipped for release and reintegration with society and so much beyond that: it has the potential to change a lot of peoples’ lives for the better.” – Daniel Godden, criminal defence partner at Hodge Jones Allen.

Carl Cattermole

Carl Cattermole is a young former prisoner and legal reform campaigner. He spent time in five different UK prisons, sharing cells with a variety of different prisoners. He formulated his idea for a book to help prisoners cope with the unique challenges of prison life. He has contributed to the BBC, The Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Mirror on the subject of prisons and prison reform.

For more information about Carl Cattermole, visit his website Prisonism.

Deborah Coles

Deborah Coles is the executive director of INQUEST, a charity which helps to investigate state-related deaths, including deaths in police custody, immigration detention and mental health settings. She leads INQUEST’s strategic policy, legal and parliamentary work and has considerable expertise in working to prevent death and ill treatment in all forms of detention and for more effective accountable learning. She has been an independent expert adviser to numerous government committees and inquiries, and is a regular media commentator.

For more information about INQUEST, visit their website.

Watch out for online events

Family lessons for
Writing and Reading Newham
available here

On the Record logo

Interested in learning more about Newham Bookshop and some of the people connected with it? We have four lessons for classroom or family use developed from On the Record’s oral history project centered around Newham Bookshop, Writing and Reading Newham. Click here for full details.

LoveReading logo

Newham Bookshop is LoveReading’s
Bookshop of the Month

We are proud that Newham Bookshop is LoveReading’s Bookshop of the Month. The article features a Q&A with Vivian Archer, which you can read here.

Thank you poster