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19 May 2014

Pavilion Books’ A Night in the Cells: Publishing world unites for campaign fundraiser

Leading independent publisher Pavilion Books has today (Monday 19 May) announced a unique fundraiser for charities The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) and the Howard League for Penal Reform, to support their work and highlight the Howard League’s Books for Prisoners campaign.

A Night in the Cells (#CellNight) sees a range of high-profile figures from the literary and arts world, including publishers and literary agents, competing in a charity auction to be one of six people locked up in cells in the Pavilion Books offices on the night of Thursday 19 June.

Pavilion’s offices are situated in the Old West London Magistrates Court, within which are six Grade II listed holding cells, last used in the 1990s. One famous occupant of the cells was former Rolling Stone Brian Jones, after being charged with drugs offences in 1967.

At 8.30am the following morning, there will be a press breakfast for those locked up to describe their experiences and why they support the Books for Prisoners campaign.

A full list of those competing in A Night in the Cells and details of their fundraising can be found in the Notes to Editors.

Chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook, said: A book can be a real lifesaver if you are locked in a prison cell for weeks, months or years. Reading books also goes hand in hand with education, with rehabilitation, with humanity. If we want to encourage prisoners to read, then allowing loved ones to send in books and other essentials to prisoners is surely to be welcomed. The Howard League is therefore delighted that Pavilion Books has organised this fundraiser and we hope the government will take note that the publishing world is not impressed with its spurious arguments and obstructive attitude to our campaign.”

Chief executive of The Book Trade Charity (BTBS), David Hicks, said: “All involved in The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) are excited to be involved in this unique and imaginative event. Funds raised will help us to continue to support those in need in the book trade; people who have spent their lives promoting and encouraging reading. That we can also highlight the iniquitous issue of banning the sending of books into prison is a special bonus.”

Chief executive of Pavilion Books, Polly Powell, said: “Pavilion Books is delighted to host this event and to use our strange and powerfully atmospheric cells to support two great charities and such a good cause.”

The Books for Prisoners campaign is calling on the government to end restrictions which prevent families and friends sending books, underwear and other essentials to prisoners. A host of leading writers, including Alan Bennett, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, have called on the Ministry of Justice to review the policy which has been in place since November.

Tens of thousands of people have shown their support for the campaign by signing a petition and sending photographs of bookshelves to the Ministry of Justice’s Twitter account using the hashtags “#shelfie” and “#booksforprisoners”. Support from English PEN has seen the UK government’s stance condemned by international writers and former prisoners of conscience across the world.

Notes to editors

  1. The fundraising page for A Night in the Cells can be found here.
  2. Confirmed participants so far are:
    • David Young, CEO of Orion Books, President of the Book Trade Charity (BTBS)
    • Patrick Janson-Smith, CEO of Blue Door, an imprint of Harper Collins
    • Anne Sebba, Chair of the Society of Authors, author of nine non-fiction books
    • Clare Conville, Literary Agent at Conville & Walsh
    • Jonathan Nowell, President of Nielsen Book, part of The Nielsen Company
    • Mark Billingham, Author of best-selling crime novels
    • Carole Blake, Literary agent at Blake Friedmann
    • Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors
    • Jamie Byng, CEO of Canongate
    • Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller
    • Seni Glaister, CEO and founder of The Book People
    • Andrew Franklin, Founder and MD of Profile Books
    • Kathy Lette, Author
    • Deborah Bull, Director, Cultural Partnerships, King’s College London
    • Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform
    • Kevin McGrath, Co-Founder of The Clink Prison Restaurant Charity
    • David Graham, Publishing consultant, Pavilion Books
    • Polly Powell, CEO of Pavilion Books
    • Patrick Neale, Owner of Jaffe and Neale Bookshop & Café
  3. A Night in the Cells will take place at Pavilion Books, The Old Magistrates Court, 10 Southcombe Street, London W14 0RA.
  4. Pavilion Books is an award-winning independent publisher producing high-quality illustrated books under the Batsford, Collins & Brown, Conway, National Trust, Pavilion and Portico imprints.
  5. The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) is the book trade’s own welfare charity, offering help to anyone who has worked in the trade for more than one year in a range of roles and who has a problem, whether personal, financial or health-related.
  6. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.


Rob Preece
Press Officer
The Howard League for Penal Reform
Tel: +44 (0)20 7241 7880
Mobile: +44 (0)7714 604955

Kom Patel
Senior Publicity & Marketing Manager
Pavilion Books
Tel: +44 (0)20 7605 1466

Claire Walton
The Book Trade Charity (BTBS)
Tel: +44 (0) 1923 263128
Mobile: 07904 680 588

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