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‘Queen of crime drama’ Martina Cole visits HMP New Hall to champion reading in prison

Bestselling author Martina Cole visiting HMP New Hall to meet staff and prisoners. The prison has run a reading project to improve literacy among inmates.

Bestselling author Martina Cole visiting HMP New Hall to meet staff and prisoners. The prison has run a reading project to improve literacy among inmates.

A best-selling author visited HMP New Hall to hear how a reading project is helping to cut re-offending rates.

Martina Cole has sold 11 million books and is known as “the queen of crime drama.”

Yesterday she met prisoners at the Flockton prison who took part in the Six Book Challenge.

She is an official ambassador for the project, which encourages people to choose six reads and record their own book reviews in a diary.

At New Hall, 141 prisoners have taken part in the challenge.

Ms Cole, whose 20th novel Revenge went straight to number one on hardback publication, is visiting prisons around the country to promote the project.

She said: “Reading is one of my greatest pleasures in life.

“I’m really looking forward to spreading the word about the Six Book Challenge and I’m particularly pleased to be visiting participating prisons I haven’t been able to get to before and meeting new faces at workplaces where it is run.”

Last year more than 35,000 people took part in the Six Book Challenge, which is designed to help adults and children develop a love of reading.

It was launched in prisons six years ago, and the number of inmates taking part annually has since grown from 500 to 7,000.

It has been run at New Hall, a women’s and young offenders jail, since 2011.

Prisoners and prison staff are encourage to take part to conversations about reading.

New Hall librarian Anne Turner said: “Martina Cole’s visit has created a real buzz around the prison library.

“The women have been reading like mad to complete the Six Book Challenge. Martina is the library’s most popular author, so it was an extra special reward for New Hall’s readers to be presented with a certificate from herself in recognition of their efforts.”

Diane Pellew, governor of the prison on New Hall Way, said: “ I believe reading helps to rehabilitate women, giving them increased self-esteem.”

Martina Cole scored 11 number one original fiction novels in a row with the release of Revenge.

Four of her novels, Dangerous Lady, The Jump, The Take and The Runaway have been adapted into television dramas.

Her 10th novel The Know spent seven weeks on the Sunday Times hardback best-sellers list.

Her new novel, The Good Life, will be released in October.

 
 
 

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