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Prisoners pick the books to get you through lockdown

The prison library has been an important resource in the last year. Librarian Kelly Fuller picks prisoners' favourite books that helped them through lockdown.
Books are good for prisoners' wellbeing. Image: Our Escape by Felipe Morin

Throughout the challenges of lockdown, prison librarian Kelly Fuller has continued bringing books to inmates. As many prisoners have been confined to their cells, with the usual visits from loved ones and education cancelled, mental health has suffered. 

Her customers are often “demotivated and bored and frustrated”, but that just makes Fuller more determined to keep the library service going. With the support of local libraries and donations, she is able to help prisoners discover new books. 

This list is her pick for the titles her readers have been enjoying the most.

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A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Russian count is sentenced by the Bolsheviks to indefinite house arrest in a Moscow hotel. A witty and inventive bestseller about the power of salvation. 

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

Another bestseller, this one about ‘Marsh Girl’ Kya and what happens when gentle creatures come up against human cruelty… and the justice system.

The Chronicles of St Mary’s Omnibus

The Chronicles of St Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor 

A team of time-travellers investigate a slew of historic events. Expect humour, and lots of action.


Maus by Art Spiegelman 

The Pulitzer-winning graphic novel tells the story of Spiegelman’s father’s experiences in Auschwitz and his struggles afterwards.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

Hapless Adrian’s dogged attempts to a) be recognised as an intellectual and b) get Pandora to have sex with him have made his diaries a modern-day classic. 

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Contemporary Britain as seen through the eyes of a dozen women, mostly of colour. Their lives and the links between them coalesce into a remarkable portrait of sisterhood, family and love.

Read more about how the prison library survived lockdown here