Avril Joy is no stranger to quiet but significant achievement. In her previous life, she worked for twenty-five years as a teacher and then Senior Manager in HM Low Newton, County Durham, and was awarded a Butler Trust Travel Award for ‘outstanding contribution to prison care.’ Avril supported the many women who were serving sentences and who trusted her with their life stories, spoken and written, of poverty, drug dependence and abuse. It was here, in 1999 that she met Writer-in-Residence, Wendy Robertson, and discovered her own strong, unique, beautiful writing voice. Until then, she had no thoughts of being a writer.
This collection of poetry, reflecting lives hidden behind walls and bars, has been a long time in gestation. The women prisoners spoke of lives that few of us can even imagine, before being sentenced and afterwards. To do justice to these stories, Avril has waited until she is absolutely confident that she can reflect the complexity of those voices, and she does so with extraordinary authenticity, poignancy, and humour. The style is breathtakingly original.
Avril’s short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including Victoria Hislop’s, The Story: Love, Loss & the Lives of Women. Her work has been shortlisted in the Bridport, the Manchester Prize for Fiction and The Raymond Carver Short Story Prize in the USA. In 2012, she won the inaugural Costa Short Story Award. Her latest novel, Sometimes a River Song, published by Linen Press, won the 2017 People’s Book Prize.In 2019 her poem Skomm won first prize in the York Literary Festival Competition.
Linen Press is honoured to have the opportunity of publishing Going In With Flowers. We believe it is a unique and extraordinary book, and are committed to giving it the visibility it deserves. Publication date: 25th September 2019.