No background of any writer I have found over the years is the same. I have being personally as documented elsewhere one way or the other since I was 10, and have being constantly expanding and developing in one way or the other since.
Other writers have come into writing through a completely different way, for example Jenny Berry who I met through her work at Salford City FM at the end of 2018 and has just bought out her first poetry collection ‘The Great Escape’ “I began working using my poetry in a way to help people express themselves in about 2013/2014 in a local prison by vounteering and completely winging it (nice pun).
“After 14 months I entered ‘Venture Further’ a social enterprise competition at Manchester Business School and won £10k (as if me)” She carries on further “This helped me run a cic for 3 years or so getting funding in and working across NW prisons, pupil referral units, community addiction groups and schools. Charities now commission me to go in to.”
“Over the past couple of years I have stepped back a little to have a think and work more with ex offenders and am currently working with the ARC staff ( a recovery hub in person and online outside of Mcr prison.” She brings the story up to date more “They helped me (Tina Patel massive thanks) to coordinate the artwork for my book. I decided to write a little cheeky chap book giving a glimpse into prison life seen through by eyes a poet. There are so many unheard voices – prisoners, staff, families that society do not always know about. It’s a bespoke book to the prison system really, as a writer I thought it would be crime not to write about these stories I have seen and characters I have met.”
“The title ‘The Great Escape’ was born from a regular class I ran and used for my dissertation where I measure the effectiveness of using poetry for communication skills – I used a 10 week course I designed.” She explains the title of the collection “A lad told me he felt like the sessions were an escapism so then amongst the banter – my class became the ‘great escape’. “
“The artists were from 3 different prisons and I chose 4 pieces that complimented my words the best.” She carries on next explaining about the artwork which is included inside her collection “All the artwork sent in was brilliant and it will all be exhibited in THE Arc as soon as covid allows it. Th inmates all have pseudonyms to for obvious reasons but I thanked them all. In fact one, is now a free man and will be talking at my virtual book launch on 2.1.20.”
“I aim to further my work in prison and outside with their families to” Jenny concludes explaining about her further plans “I have been on many training courses about writing for wellbeing with ‘Lapidus’ a writing for wellbeing organisation because there is a difference in creative writing and writing for wellbeing. It’s absolutely fantastic any arts in prison but you have to be very careful about subject matter and be able to open and close dialogue down when needed. I also want to work on my own performing and a big massive dream is to have a one woman show with a hint of comedy and poetry. I’m like Bridet Jones you see, if it’s going to happen to anyone it is me therefore I may as well roll with the punches and laugh at myself whilst entertaining too.”
Jenny Berry’s book can be bought at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1838114920/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_yFD2Fb8X9EQYJ
Her book launch is on 02 January 2020 and the link for the event on Zoom can be got directly from Jenny either on her website at [email protected] or her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Jenny-Berry-Poet-111659770570240/