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News story

We unveil 2020 Books Unlocked reading list

06 Feb 2020

Books Unlocked reading list 2020

Our prison reading programme, Books Unlocked, has just announced the 10 books that participants will have available to read in 2020.

Books Unlocked provides free copies of Booker Prize shortlisted and longlisted titles for participants in UK prisons to read, discuss and keep.

The 10 books chosen for this years are:

  1. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  2. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
  3. Lanny by Max Porter
  4. The Curious Indicent of the Dog in the Night-time by Max Haddon
  5. Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
  6. Normal People by Sally Rooney
  7. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  8. Autumn by Ali Smith
  9. We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  10. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

Each month, one of the books will be serialised on the Books Unlocked radio show on National Prison Radio, which broadcasts to over 80,000 cells across the UK prison population. Prisoners can send off for a free copy of the book being serialised, which will then be sent to them to keep. A further five titles will be added to this list during the summer.

We are aiming to have many of the authors on the list visit prison reading groups over the course of the year, and take part in interviews for National Prison Radio which will also be broadcast on the Books Unlocked show.

Last year was the most successful year for Books Unlocked yet. We distributed our highest number of books through the programme, totalling 2,294 to 75 different settings across England, Scotland and Wales.

The feedback that we’ve received from this year’s programme has been some of the most positive we’ve ever had. 80% of participants in the Books Unlocked Programme told us their listening skills had improved, while 67% said that both their reading skills and amount of time spent talking about reading had improved.

Books Unlocked was a really fantastic experience. It got me out of my comfort zone. I didn't just read a new book, I talked about it, shared my opinion and learned from other people's perspectives. It's such a great event because it allows you to engage with more than just prison life (socially, thinking-wise etc.) and that is so important for your own development and preparation for your release.”

Prisoner, HMP Thameside

Read more in our 2018/2019 Books Unlocked impact report.

Books Unlocked is supported by the Booker Prize Foundation, and works in partnership with National Prison Radio.

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