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World Book Day 2021: Launch of writing contest in German prisons

22 April 2021

To mark this year’s World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April, the German Prison Library Support Group, in cooperation with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), the Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the German reading project KonTEXT in Munich, will launch its first nationwide writing contest in German prisons.

Prisoners across the country are invited to compose and submit a short text on the topics ‘life’, ‘freedom’ or ‘hope’. The five best entries will be published in a book and online. Moreover, the prison libraries through which the winning entries are submitted will receive new books and media. An official award ceremony is scheduled to take place on the occasion of German Reading Aloud Day, on 19 November.

Reading, writing and using a prison library can open up a world beyond prison bars, allowing prisoners to forget for a time the harsh reality of prison life. Literacy initiatives can benefit individuals of any age by increasing their self-awareness and their ability to discuss thoughts and feelings. This, in turn, improves coping and problem-solving abilities and thus represents a powerful transformative tool for personal development in the prison environment.

Find out more

Criteria and topics of the contest (in German)

Related UIL publications

Books beyond Bars

Policy brief on prison libraries

Case studies

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