Inspiring creativity and encouraging personal and social change through the arts

The Prison Arts Foundation is as important as it is unique. Thanks to our pioneering work with people with convictions lives are being transformed and patterns of behaviour changed for good.

Our team of experienced professional artists working across the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland are offering people with convictions a life-line, helping to improve their creative and communications skills, which is key to personal and social development, building self-confidence and unlocking people’s potential.

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The Write Lines PAF’s Inaugural Writing Competition

The creative writing group, supported by Prison Arts Foundation (PAF), based at HMP Magilligan have gained a reputation for achievement in writing competitions such as Listowel Writers Week and Koestler Arts Awards.

In order to support prisoners during the lockdown period Governor Richard Taylor supported the first ever ‘In-House’ creative writing competition at Magilligan. Senior Officer Kristie McDonald coordinated the project with PAF’s writer in residence Pamela Brown. The theme of ‘Lockdown’ was agreed and prisoners were asked to submit both poems and short stories.

Executive Director of PAF, Fred Caulfield, said, ‘this has given constructive support to prisoners during this extensive lock down period, and it may be possible to continue to have the competition on a regular basis.’

Governor Dowds, Head of Purposeful Activity & Resettlement, added, ‘this was a very proactive piece of work that provided a distraction and much needed activity for those in our care during the coronavirus pandemic and made best use of the new virtual technology.’

Speaking about the standard of work submitted Pamela said, ‘the theme of isolation was of course at the forefront of many of the poems, and really demonstrated the importance of a platform for creative expression.’

Certificates and prize money were issued to the winners by Governor Gareth Murphy encouraged by the fact that ‘the competition also received entries from prisoners who hadn’t previously been engaged with the creative writing classes.’

Click on the titles to read the winning pieces of writing.

1st Prize Poetry – Changing with the Seasons

2nd Prize Poetry – Lockdown

3rd Prize Poetry – Missed

1st Prize Story/Article Category – What Value