Project information

A magazine for prisoners and by prisoners

People in prison make progress towards rehabilitation by being made to feel more positive about themselves, and to see themselves as not defined solely by being in prison. Our magazine, full of their writing, is achieved through the support of prison staff, who value the contribution it can make.

October 2011 - September 2012

Charity information


  • Need


    The conditions in prisons are getting worse: overcrowding and cuts to staff levels mean more and more time is spent in cells. This is a profoundly negative experience. People become utterly institutionalised. Nothing can change. Many people in prison have rarely tried to write down their thoughts, express their feelings in words, recall their memories and shape them. Given the chance to do so, a degree of reflection can help them conceive of themselves as capable of change.


    Our magazine is professionally edited and designed: it looks good. Our Autumn issue is our most important as it features work that has won prizes awarded by the Koestler Trust. NOT SHUT UP is a benchmark of what can be achieved. Contributors are hugely encouraged by being in it and readers are able to identify with much of what is written. 7500 copies are circulated free: it makes a considerable impact.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Publish and circulate three issues of our magazine in October, February, and June


    » Preparations are nearly complete for the October issue. We will gather in work, then oversee production and distribution for the further two issues.

    Success will be to see our magazine being read throughout the prison estate and the letters and further contributions we receive will show the positive effect it has.

  • Impact


    We share with many others who try to sustain the arts in prisons the aim of making them places that are less about punishment and more about change and rehabilitation. People outside are astonished by the quality of work they find in the magazine. We want to achieve more circulation outside the prisons.


    We have funds for the first of these three issues and some of the funds for the following two. Constant rises in print and distribution costs are a worry. We have moved to new printing company who are cheaper and we are awaiting a quote from them to cover postal distribution as well.


    We will send them a copy of the magazine and a free subscription for future issues, we can also offer them a copy of the objective evaluation report that is currently being written about our work

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £45,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £21,240 Editing Manager This person works part time from home, minimal admin costs; inc two others help re art &poetry
      £18,360 Design,print, distribution Freelance designer paid fee per issue
      £5,400 Workshops, prizes Workshops in London prisons; 7 prizes per issue also fees paid to ex-prisoners

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation £5,000 Guaranteed
    ALCS £5,000 Conditional
    Lankelly Chase Foundation £15,000 Guaranteed
    Eleanor Rathbone Trust £1,000 Guaranteed
    Jessie Spencer Trust £500 Guaranteed
    Coutts Foundation £750 Guaranteed
    Topinambour Trust £3,000 Conditional
  • Background


    5000 copies of the magazine are delivered in bulk to London prisons as many people pass through these to other prisons - the magazine began by serving these and "went national" in 2009. Costs prohibit more than a small pack being sent out nationally. Nevertheless, the magazine is well established throughout the prison estate and particularly where there is a writer working - we maintain a close link to the Writers In Prison Network. We have no office.


    We are mainly focused on people in prison throughout the UK, but magazines are also sent to probation hostels, Immigration Removal Centres and secure hospitals. Families and friends are sent the magazine and they can also access all prize-wining work on our website. We want to extend our circulation "outside the walls" - this is our aim for the coming year

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    NOT SHUT UP was created by writers and almost all those involved in it are writers. The connection we make by our writer-tutors, by linking to other writers working in prisons gives a particular character to the magazine: it isn't educational in a formal sense, nor is patronising or controlling. It's about sharing the joy of writing.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Hugh Stoddart

    Hugh is the managing editor and responsible for all aspects of the project: fund raising, editing and administration

    Anna Robinson

    Anna is the poetry editor: she selects from all submitted work, and shares ideas and advice about poetry with our contributors and readers

    Matthew Meadows

    Matthew is art editor: he has a lot of experience of teaching art and running art projects in prisons and he seeks out good art images to be included

    Kate Pullinger

    Kate is Chair of the trustees; she has worked as a writer in prison and is an award-winning novelist and offers close support to the managing editor