Duchess to Celebrate 7th Anniversary of Books Unlocked and Booker Prize

Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Frome Men's Shed, in Frome, Somerset.



The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron, National Literacy Trust (NLT) will attend a tea reception to mark the 7th anniversary of NLT’s Books Unlocked programme which provides free copies of Booker Prize shortlisted titles to people in prison library groups to read, discuss and keep. The tea will also celebrate the 2019 Booker Prize.

On arrival at the café HRH will be met by representatives from the NLT and The Booker Prize. HRH will then join a tea reception, which will include supporters of the NLT’s work in prisons. This will comprise prison librarians, volunteers, and Booker Prize shortlisted authors who have visited prisons through Books Unlocked, including Stephen Kelman (Pigeon English) and Rachel Seiffert (The Dark Room).

As part of the visit, HRH will meet representatives from National Prison Radio (NPR), which supports Books Unlocked, including former prisoner producers and ex-offenders mentored as part of the scheme. The event will be recorded by NPR and broadcast directly into almost 80,000 cells in prisons and young offender institutions across England and Wales in the coming week.

Booker Prize guests will also be present, including Peter Florence (Chair of Judges for the 2019 prize), author Elif Shafak (whose title 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the 2019 Prize) and Dotti Irving (Chief Executive, Four Communications).

Following the reception, the guests will take their seats as Peter Florence and Elif Shafak provide an unrivalled insight into the 2019 Booker Prize. Gaby Wood (Literary Director of The Booker Prize Foundation) will chair the conversation, inviting questions from the audience. Prison librarians will ask questions on behalf of their Books Unlocked prison reading groups, including where Shafak gets her writing inspiration, what Florence thought was unique about this year’s shortlist, and ask for writing tips and advice. The Duchess of Cornwall is expected to ask a question.

The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the National Literacy Trust. HRH has undertaken visits to HMP Brixton and HMP Styal in support of Books Unlocked, and has presented The Booker Prize in previous years.

The reception will be hosted by KPMG at their 19 Brooks Mews café (Mayfair, London). KPMG is a long-term supporter of the National Literacy Trust and will donate 10p from every ‘literacy latte’ sold between October – December to support Books Unlocked. KPMG is also committed to working in the criminal justice sector through its Key4Life mentoring scheme for young offenders.

About the National Literacy Trust and Books Unlocked

The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK and giving children, young people and adults from disadvantaged communities the literacy skills to succeed in life.

Books Unlocked is the National Literacy Trust’s flagship criminal justice programme and is supported by The Booker Prize Foundation. Books Unlocked uses the power of reading to help those in prisons and young offender institutions, lead productive and fulfilling lives while in custody and upon release.

Books Unlocked provides free copies of Booker Prize shortlisted and longlisted titles for participants to read, discuss and keep, and facilitates visits from the authors of these titles to prison reading groups. Books Unlocked also works with National Prison Radio to serialise audiobooks of Booker Prize titles and broadcast author interviews.

Since the programme’s launch in 2012, Books Unlocked has:

  • Been delivered in 75 settings across England and Wales, including prisons, young offender institutions, schools and libraries
  • Facilitated visits to prison library groups from Booker Prize shortlisted and longlisted authors, such as Roddy Doyle, Stephen Kelman, Sarah Waters, Ali Smith, AD Miller and Jim Crace
  • Gifted 8,000 Booker Prize shortlisted and longlisted titles to participants

About The Booker Prize

The Booker Prize for Fiction is the leading literary award in the English speaking world and was first awarded in 1969. The Booker Prize is awarded annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

The 2019 Booker Prize was jointly awarded to Margaret Atwood (The Testaments) and Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other). For a full history of the prize, including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges, visit: www.thebookerprizes.com

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