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Butcher's Dog Publishing proudly presents Words Behind Walls, a new anthology of poetry and prose written by prison staff at HMP Hull and HMP Manchester. We are proud that 15% of profits from the sale of this book will support Haven Books Distribution and the Adult Literacy Trust.


"This project sought to recruit prison officers for bespoke creative writing workshops at both HMP Hull and HMP Manchester. We wanted to support employees in a role that government and academic research recognizes is vital, but that can have a detrimental impact on mental and physical wellbeing, resulting in a high staff turnover."


Dr Josephine Metcalf

Co-Director of the Cultures of Incarceration Centre, University of Hull


The anthology is published with many thanks to support from the Higher Education Innovation Funding. HEIF supports knowledge exchange between higher education providers and the wider world that benefits society and the economy.


"In the USA there are more jails and prisons than colleges and universities. What does this tell you? Prison is the mirror of a rent society. This poetry and prose anthology from UK prison staff shows the other side of that mirror: those who oversee the incarcerated are also human; they also feel, also exhibit propensities and passions. Turmoiled and often misunderstood, they can find solace in the fount of their laden gifts. With expressive writing, as more than one writer here says, ‘we can be human together.’"

- Luis J. Rodriguez

Author, Always Running, It Calls You Back, and From Our Land to Our Land


"Words Behind Walls inspires. It reminds us how creative writing builds our capacity for empathy. The pieces collected here help us understand how our individual humanity works to shape and transcend our roles in society."


- Professor Marc Falkoff

Director, Northern Illinois University Prisoners’ Rights Project, USA

Words Behind Walls: Prison Staff Writing Anthology

  • Co-editors: Dr Josephine Metcalf, Dr Helen Nichols, Dr Christopher Westoby, Dr Jo Clement

    Copyright remains with authors and artists 

    ISBN 978-1-7399924-1-5
    Wagtail, 2023

  • Words Behind Walls will launch on the 15th of September 2023  at Hull University. Orders will be dispatched after the 15th of September.

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