Scribe acquires memoir by world’s foremost expert on rehabilitative prison design, Yvonne Jewkes.

Scribe has acquired a new book from one of the world's foremost experts on rehabilitative prison design, Yvonne Jewkes. Published on September 26th, An Architecture of Hope: reimagining the prison, restoring a house, rebuilding myself combines memoir with an exploration of how we might change prisons to create spaces that encourage reflection, healing, even hope for those incarcerated.

Should architecture be used for punishment? How might the spaces we inhabit nurture or damage us? How can we begin to start over after the worst has happened? Criminologist Yvonne Jewkes grapples with these questions every day as the world’s leading expert on rehabilitative prison design; she also faces them in her personal life when her partner of 25 years leaves her in the middle of a nightmare renovation project and then lockdown sees her trapped there. Challenging our expectations of what prisons are for, she takes us along their corridors, into cells, communal spaces, visitors’ areas, and staffrooms, to the architects’ studios where they are designed, and even into her own home, to show us the importance of an architecture of hope in the face of despair.

UK and Commonwealth rights were acquired by Publisher Molly Slight from Eleanor Birne at PEW Literary. About the acquisition, Slight said: ‘The design of the spaces we live in clearly has an enormous impact on us, from our physical comfort to our mental health, and even our sense of self. But I don’t think I had ever considered what life might be like for people incarcerated in prisons, who have so little control over their environments, until I encountered Yvonne Jewkes and her work. ‘Yvonne opened my eyes to what it might be like to live in a Nordic IKEA-style prison versus a rodent-infested, damp Victorian gaol or an overcrowded set of concrete bunkers, isolated and bleak, against a verdant NZ landscape, and what impact this might have on a person’s rehabilitation, their humanity, and their sense of hope. In this perception-challenging book, she recounts a career of fighting punitive prison systems to create spaces that encourage reflection and healing for those incarcerated. A thoughtful, compassionate, literary writer, her goal is to challenge our preconceptions of what prisons are for and what prisoners deserve, a radical and admirable ambition that she is uniquely positioned to fulfil.

‘I am extraordinarily proud that this is one of the books I leave at Scribe as I depart for my new position at Chatto & Windus. A publisher deeply committed to social justice and exposing society’s ills, it is the perfect home for Yvonne’s important work.’

Yvonne Jewkes said: ‘Confinement comes in many guises, and I’m grateful that Molly Slight at Scribe encouraged me to write a memoir that combines my professional life in prisons with my personal experience of the end of a long relationship. She added: ‘I think my book will change the way people view imprisonment, but I hope that readers will also find it moving, funny and enlightening about what it means to be human and imperfect. At the book’s heart, it is a reflection on the importance of friendship, freedom, and a place to call home’.

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An Architecture of Hope

Yvonne Jewkes

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