In September 2017, the Koestler Trust will publish a collection of poetry selected from the very best poetry entries of the 2016 and 2017 Koestler Awards.
The Koestler Awards are an annual arts award programme for people in the criminal justice system across the UK. Over 3,000 people take part each year, sharing their writing, performance, fine art, design and craft. Entrants gain certificates and feedback and can win awards, apply for mentoring and exhibit their work. Each year the Awards generate over 1,000 poems – making poetry one of our most popular artforms.
Award-winning pieces often give insights into living apart from friends and family, memories of home, and life in custody, but many are about the experiences we all share.
The Koestler Collection will showcase this writing, increase its prominence and respond to the question we hear every year at exhibitions – How can I enjoy these poems once the exhibition is over?
With the help of the T S Eliot Foundation and this campaign, Volume 1 will be the first of what will become an ongoing series, and this year will feature a foreword by poet Benjamin Zephaniah (who curated our UK exhibition in 2016). The collection will cover the range of settings and people that we work with, as well as the diversity of concerns that our entrants write about. But most importantly, we want to produce an anthology of excellent poetry that moves and inspires readers.
We would love it if you supported this project, all money raised will go towards making it happen and to finally give this powerful poetry the showcase it deserves.
Our 2017 Koestler Award judges reading If, A Prisoner's Perspective with Apologies to Rudyard Kipling, an award-winning poem from the 2016 Koestler Awards