Wednesday, 22 July 2009

John Siddique

I had a coffee and a chat with John Siddique on Monday in Hebden. John is a writer and poet. You can catch his latest offerings in a book of poems called Recital. It is published by Salt. Go buy a copy and help a great indy publisher and keep John in bacon butties. John has just returned form LA where he was the writer in residence there, a position sponsored by the British Council. He was telling me about a unique and very successful reading group which helps gang members in prison move away from violence and to try and turn their lives around. Run and organised by a previous gang leader, they are only allowed to read books, short stories or poems that don't glorify their positions. It has reduced recidivism from 85% to 30% which doesn't even go to show the turnaround in the lives of individuals, but to keep their funding, stats like this have to be trailed out for politicians to spout about. He's on a world tour of schools and libraries this Autumn. If you get a chance go and see him. He's got me interested in the short story writer and poet Raymond Carver, and for that I thank him.

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