It’s been a strange time within the high walls of HMP Manchester during the pandemic but here in the library we have been busy working on some exciting projects.

One of the projects we have been working on is The Reading Agency’s Stories from UK Prisons Writing Competition. This is part of The Writing on the Wall Festival who are celebrating their 21st anniversary this year.

This competition has been run by The Reading Agency in conjunction with Picador and the American writer Ryan Gattis.

The competition was open to 10 men per prison (HMP Manchester had 10 entries and we could have had many more). The men received a fabulous piece called Read Like a Writer, a Q & A with Ryan and a copy of his latest book – The System along with the competition instructions and the opening line of the story:

“A man steps off a bus, stumbles, looks over and sees a woman, smiling…”

At the end of April we were informed that one of our entrants had been shortlisted for his short story entitled ‘Guardian Angel Watches Over Us’.

When we let him know he was so proud and couldn’t wait to tell his family. His work will be on display during the festival for all to see. You can listen to the short story read by Peter James, bestselling author who is best known for writing crime and thriller novels.