Andy West teaches philosophy in prisons and he’ll be at BridLit in November talking about his debut memoir, The Life Inside.

He has conversations with prisoners about their lives, discusses their ideas and feelings, and offers new ways to think about their situation. 

As his students discuss the knotty problems of bad behaviour, forgiveness and freedom, West struggles with his own inherited guilt – his father, uncle and brother all spent serious time in jail. 

‘What emerges powerfully from his account is the potential that many prisoners possess, educationally and academically, but which has been wasted in their teenage years for all sorts of reasons (there is such a strong connection between growing up in care or being excluded from school and going to prison),’ says Peter Stanford, director of the Longford Trust for prison reform, in an article for The Guardian.  

‘Yet prison education runs on a shoestring budget, sits bottom of the management hierarchy in jails, and finds it hard to recruit committed, inspiring teachers such as West to take on the challenge. ‘

Andy West will be talking to Prue Keely about his book, The Life Inside: A Memoir of Family, Philosophy & Prison in The Bull Ballroom on Wednesday 9 November.