Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy released from prison

I have heard from English PEN that Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, one of the recipients of a book I sent through their Writers in Prison programme, has been freed from prison in Vietnam and is now in the US.

The book I sent to her was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark and if you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that it was one of 48 copies that I was assigned through World Book Night when I signed up as one of 25,000 'givers' who distributed a million free books in the UK in March this year. There were 25 titles available to choose from, all donated by the publishing industry in an initiative that was launched with the aim of getting more people reading. Interestingly, all the titles reportedly saw an increase in sales even though there were so many free copies circulating.

I gave some of the books out at random on the streets of Brixton, I sent seven to prisoners of conscience via English PEN's Writers in Prison programme and gave the rest to some of the exiled writers I have been working with at Freedom from Torture.

If you weren't involved in World Book Night and you'd like to sign up for 2012, you can sign up here. You can also help to choose the 25 titles for next year by nominating your ten favourite books.


Deb said...

I think this post speaks much to the kind of person you must be in real life, Helen. Well done.

Helen Smith said...

Thank you, it was really good fun to get involved. It was wonderful to be able to give away books that had been given to me for nothing. 48 copies certainly went a long way!

Andrew Biss said...

What a wonderful thing to have happened.

Helen Smith said...

It's such good news, Andrew. I was excited enough when I heard the book had got through to her, uncensored. But now to hear that Tran Khai Thanh Thuy has been released - that's really wonderful, isn't it!