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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.

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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.

No events until further notice

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Local and international customers support Newham Bookshop with orders

We’ve been receiving dozens of book orders by email and phone, and sending them out by post. Our special cycling volunteers are helping with local deliveries in Newham, Wanstead and Leytonstone.

Apart from many orders from our local customers, we’ve been sending signed copies of Polly Samson’s new novel A Theatre for Dreamers to fans across Europe, the USA and Australia! Your local independent bookshop is going global.

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Family lessons for Writing and Reading Newham available here

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Are you locked down with children in years 5 or 6? 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.

These Are The Hands


These Are
The Hands

and support the NHS Charities Covid Appeal

Michael Rosen’s poem, These Are The Hands, features in a book of poems from the heart of the NHS, which has just been published.

Email to order a copy of These Are The Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS for £9.99 plus £3.01 p&p. All proceeds from the book will go to the NHS Charities Covid Appeal.

Past events and news

Rachel Reeves MP and Sophie Walker discuss Westminster and rebellion.
Hosted by Lyn Brown MP

Julian Earl: Cows in Trees

Book signing with Kate Thompson
Secrets of the Homefront Girls
with East End legend Stan Moore
playing the spoons
Prosecco and cake

Daniel Sonabend
We Fight Fascists
The 43 Group and Their Forgotten
Battle for Post War Britain

In conversation with Michael Rosen

Raymond Antrobus,
Salena Godden
& Nikita Gill

John Crace
Decline and Fail
Read in Case of Political Apocalypse

Suresh Singh
A Modest Living
Memoirs Of A Cockney Sikh

An Evening with
Lucinda Dickens Hawksley
Part of Redbridge Fabula Festival 2019

Eleanor Crow
Shopfronts of London
In conversation with Krissie Nicolson

Lucy O’Brien
Janette Mason and David McAlmont
Dusty in Words and Music

Carl Cattermole
Prison: A Survival Guide
In conversation with Deborah Coles

Jenni Murray
A History of the World
in 21 Women

Daniel Rachel
Don’t Look Back In Anger
In conversation with Paolo Hewitt

Esther Rutter
This Golden Fleece
A Journey Through
Britain’s Knitted History

Book Benefit for the
homeless in Newham

Launch party for
Luan Goldie
Nightingale Point

Ronnie le Drew
Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi
Zippy and Me

David Rosenberg
Rebel Footprints
in conversation with Asad Rehman

Pete Brown
Pie Fidelity
In Defence of British Food

Carol Ann Duffy
Poetry for the Insect Population
with Andrew McMillan, Matthew Hollis, Imtiaz Dharker, Zaffar Kunial,
Mark Pajak, Hannah Sullivan,
Sean Borodale, Ella Duffy
and Yvonne Reddick

David Hepworth
A Fabulous Creation
How the LP Saved Our Lives

5x15 on The Future of Education
with David Kynaston, Priya Lakhani, Alex Beard, Owen Jones,
Melissa Benn and Kate Clanchy

Cold War Steve
The Festival of Brexit
in conversation with Martin Rowson

Lucinda Gosling
Shirley Baker and Vintage Britain

Robert Elms
London Made Us
A Memoir of a Shape-Shifting City

Newham Word Festival logo
Michael Rosen
with Danny Braverman

Newham Word Festival logo
Bobby Seagull
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers

Newham Word Festival logo
Suresh Singh
with Stef Dickers

Newham Word Festival logo
Duncan Barrett
Hitler’s British Isles

Newham Word Festival logo
Kate Thompson
and Melanie McGrath

Newham Word Festival logo
Regeneration Songs

Newham Word Festival logo
Asian Noir:
the new wave of crime fiction

Luke Turner
Out of the Woods

Danny Dorling
Rule Britannia
Brexit and the End of Empire

Doreen Fletcher, Paintings
with The Gentle Author

Benjamin Zephaniah
The Life and Rhymes
of Benjamin Zephaniah

in conversation with Cilius Victor

Peggy Seeger
First Time Ever

E. Foley and B. Coates
What Would Boudicca Do?

Bobby Seagull
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers

Will Ashon
Chamber Music
Enter the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)

Robin Ince
I’m a Joke and So Are You
A Comedian’s Take on
What Makes Us Human

Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate
The Inking Woman

Iain Sinclair
Living with Buildings

1968 and After:
Culture and Education

An evening with
Shami Chakrabarti and Rachel Holmes

Martin Rowson
The Pen is Mightier Than the Word

Ed Vulliamy
When Words Fail

Marcus Sedgwick & Dr Sam George
The Battle of the Books:
Frankenstein v. Dracula

Kenney Jones
Let the Good Times Roll

Ben Okri and special guests
Rise Like Lions

Adam Dant
Maps of London & Beyond

Sarah Ivens
Forest Therapy

Shore 2 Shore
with Carol Ann Duffy
Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay
and Maura Dooley, with music by John Sampson

Viv Albertine
To Throw Away Unopened

Melanie McGrath
Pie & Mash Down the Roman Road
in conversation with Duncan Barrett

James Bloodworth
Six Months Undercover
in Low-Wage Britain

Chris Difford
Full Acoustic Show
Some Fantastic place

Michael Rosen
So They Call You Pisher!

David Hepworth
Uncommon People
The Rise and Fall of the
Rock Stars 1955-1994

Liam Young and Simon Hannah
The Labour Party, past and present

Misha Glenny: McMafia
Seriously Organised Crime

Helen Pankhurst: Deeds Not Words
The Story of Women’s Rights,
Then and Now

Laura James and Jessie Hewitson discuss autism

Literary Natives
Writers of Colour Meet Up

John Davies: The Red Atlas
How the Soviet Union
Secretly Mapped the World

Please look in our Archive,
in the main menu.