2019 writing competition winners





The Prison Reform Trust is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 writing competition.

(click on the red links to read the winning entries)

A Good Officer' - a comment piece or article of no more than 500 words, the winners are:

1st BB The judges said it was, "A very fine piece of writing, colourful and compelling - brilliant phrasing and imagery - a clear winner."
2nd JF The judges said  this was, "a thoughtful, intelligent, well-argued piece."
=3rd KH The judges said that this piece contained, "good insights, good points about the needs and best practices for women in prison."
=3rd MP The judges said this entry was, "a very good portrayal of the posive impact  diversity awareness can have on a person's prison journey."

The judges were Erwin James, Guardian columnist and editor of Inside Time. He is the author of three books: A Life Inside: A Prisoner’s Notebook, The Home Stretch:From Prison to Parole, and Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope. And, Big Issue editor Paul McNamee. Paul was appointed UK editor of the Big Issue in 2011, the first time the Big Issue had a single editor across all national, regional and online editions. Previously, Paul worked for the NME and has written for the Daily Mirror, the Guardian, the Belfast Telegraph, and The Irish Times.


'Hope' - a short story of no more than 1,000 words, the winners were:


The judges were Rachel Billington OBE. Rachel has published 21 novels for adults, the latest entitled Glory, as well as children’s books, and non-fiction titles. In 2018 she edited the 7th vol. of Inside Poetry: Voices from Prison, published by Inside Time. She is Honorary Vice-President of English PEN and an associate editor of and contributor to Inside Time. And, Minette Walters, a psychological thriller writer, who applies her skills to both crime and historical fiction. She achieved a unique triple when her first three novels won the highest awards for crime and thriller fiction in the UK and USA. She is published in 36 countries and five of her stories have been adapted for television. Her major interest is working with offenders, both inside prison and on release.

'Speak out' - a rap/lyric of no more than 400 words, the winners are:


The judges were, Akala, a BAFTA/MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and TV presenter. He is also founder of the Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, a music theatre production company specialising in the delivery of education programmes, live events and music productions aimed at engaging young people to help them achieve artistic excellence. And, Femi Oyeniran, an award-winning London-based actor/ filmmaker who has starred in hit films Kidulthood and Anuvahood. His first feature film as filmmaker, It’s a Lot, was released in 2013, followed by The Intent (2016) The 12 (2017) and The Intent 2: The Come Up (2018). His production company Purple Geko produced the 10-part Sky Living series Venus vs Mars and ITV2’s Dropperz. His latest show as a writer, Turn Up Charlie, is available on Netflix in over 191 countries.


The judging panel award the special prize for an outstanding entry from somebody 21 years or under to: