London Launch Event For Hard Time

A big thank you to everyone who attended the event last Thursday night at the Royal Festival Hall! Tickets sold out. We had a full house. Some people - including one of our most regular commenters here, Sue O - had flown in from America.

I ended up on the stage getting interviewed by Erwin James - a lifer who served 20 years. Erwin's rehabilitation through writing was so successful that he became a columnist for The Guardian while still incarcerated, and his prison memoir, A Life Inside, is highly acclaimed. His powerful presence did not go unnoticed. Many of my family and friends commented on what an excellent host of the talk he had been. Erwin picked up on everything going on in the audience, and adjusted the interview accordingly. He emphasized that the event was a celebration of prisoners redeeming themselves through art. Erwin also interviewed Matthew Meadows, whose excellent new book, Insider Art, showcases art by prisoners and is the first of its kind. The book is proving to be a powerful source of inspiration to all of the prisoners whose art it contains.

Sat on the front row, my parents were close enough to sabotage my feeble attempts at self-deprecatory humour.
For example, when I said, "I live the idle life of a writer. I get up whenever I want to," my mum interjected with, "He doesn't have a life. All he does is stay in his room and write."

The chief executive of the Koestler Trust, Tim, introduced and ended the talk. Koestler's Arts Mentoring For Released Prisoners program was his brainchild. That program transformed my life by way of my mentor Sally Hinchcliffe. Tim seemed moved to see the finished product (i.e. me) thriving thanks to Koestler's help.

Hammy and Wild Man (both in Hard Time) looked dapper in new suits (see photos in the blog below). After the talk, they disappeared into the dark and chilly London night like vampire bats, unable to fulfill all of the requests to autograph copies of Hard Time. Hopefully, they won't be so elusive at the hometown launch party for Hard Time this coming Friday. All are welcome. Details are:

Friday 29 October 8pm - 8 Towers Pub, Weates Close, Widnes, Cheshire, WA8 3RH Tel: 0151 424 8063

Hometown launch. Book signing, excerpts being read, and presentation with images. Special guests from Hard Time: Wild Man and Hammy.

Free event. No ticket or invitation required. Just show up on the night at any time.

Facebook page for hometown launch.

Over 200 people are expected, and the local radio station will be broadcasting live.

1 comment:

Shannon Clark said...

Thanks so much to everyone who made this event and our trip to London so amazing. We made it home just fine. I was highly impressed with the visual inmate artwork, most of which had sold, and interviewer, Irwin James. I have to admit I was fighting sleep by then, as we had just arrived that morning, but Shaun was a great host, driving our family all over the area. I simply cannot imagine the book and Shaun's influence not growing and growing. He was articulate as usual and a terrific spokesperson for the Koestler trust.

He also does a fabulous job with his school speaking. He had children spellbound that afternoon and it was a privilege to witness the effect of his speaking on this really difficult audience. Great questions and answers.

Our sincerest thanks again to Shaun and his family, Gabriella for treating us to a gallery tour on Saturday, and the great people of London for being so unfailingly helpful and generous. I definitely plan to go back.

Sue O.