It’s hard to believe its been five and a half years since I first put pen to paper in prison, creating what would become my now published novel, Scarred. It took five months for me to write the first draft, but along the way I did get briefly sidetracked writing a couple short stories. While I was happy with the finished products, I was incredibly frustrated not to know of any publication I could post my work to. With the advance of the internet, the day of the writing journal is long gone. But being in prison, of course, we didn’t have access to the internet. Accordingly, my writing stayed in my desk drawer until my release.
Months before my novel was published, I’d already become a paid contributor to the (sadly now defunct) Network Ten news website 10 daily. But I’ll never forget the first time my writing was published was in Paper Chained, an annual writing journal aimed at people affected by the prison system. Paper Chained was launched in 2017, after I’d been released. They put a call-out for submissions, and that reminded me of my unpublished writings, so I sent them one of the short stories I wrote in prison. I’ve submitted something for every issue of Paper Chained since then, and knowing how much difference a journal like this can make to people in prison, I’ve also helped spread the word about fundraising. So when the previous editor told me she couldn’t continue to produce the journal and asked if I’d be interested in taking over the helm, I didn’t have to think twice about it.
The latest issue of Paper Chained, and the last one to be published by the previous editor, just dropped yesterday. In it you’ll be able to read an article I originally wrote for the issue, as well as my introduction letter ‘from the incoming editor’. You can check out the issue here. Paper Chained is a not-for-profit journal run entirely for the benefit of those affected by the prison system. If you’d like to contribute to the costs of the journal, please check out our GoFundMe campaign here. And do reach out or spread the word if you’d like to contribute some art or writing to the next issue, which is due for release in January 2022. You can read the submissions guidelines at the official website here.
Aside from taking over as editor of a journal, I am keeping busy as always. I’m nearing completion of the illustrations I was contracted to do for the upcoming book (I still can’t give you more details about that until it’s officially announced in June), things are progressing slowly but surely with the publication of my memoir (publishing a book is a patient man’s game; fortunately prison teaches you patience if nothing else), plus I’m currently organising my next two art exhibitions, which will be held in June and August respectively. Rest assured you’ll find out more details about everything in due time. 🙂