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Rare Birds: Voices of Holloway Prison

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4.69  ·  Rating details ·  13 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Rare Birds creatively re-imagines the rich and gripping story of Holloway Prison through the voices of prisoners, staff and others connected to its history, in order to explore some of the injustices of the penal system during its first hundred years. Natalie Scott's meticulously researched, moving and lyrical poems bring to life well-known voices such as Ruth Ellis, Sylvi ...more
Paperback, 146 pages
Published March 8th 2020 by Valley Press
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Robert Nichols
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Natalie Scott breaks down the prison walls to give voice to those that did bird in Holloway. Ranging from the infamous Ruth Ellis, through the suffragettes and suffragists to the petty crook and the great and the long forgotten misunderstoods, we peer through their eyes and hear it through their pursed lips. Voices from beyond the spyholes.
Even the walls have ears as Natalie tells her well researched stories from all angles, not forgetting the warden, the schoolmaster or the chaplain. Everyone h
...more
Joe Williams
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
‘Rare Birds’ is the result of a hugely ambitious project. Natalie Scott has created a book that is not only a poetry collection, but also a fascinating exploration of the history of Holloway prison, and of the British justice system in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

It is very much character-driven, being almost entirely composed of monologues in the voices of real people whose lives were in some way tied to Holloway – largely female prisoners, named or unnamed – in a more-or-less chronologic
...more
Susan Ord
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rare Birds is a truly wonderful read and beautifully crafted collection of poetry. The eloquent capturing of the voices of the past, echoing down through the years from Holloway Prison bring the people and environment to life in a way that brings reflection and a renewed recognition of the need to constantly review and seek change within communities and the prison service. The touching and often very stark descriptions portray the individual experiences of the characters within the institutional ...more
Staceywh_17
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't normally do poetry but I loved this & couldn't put it down until I'd read every poem & excerpt it contained. Some fascinating, some thought provoking & some upsetting words from those ladies & gents who had been interred or employed within the walls of Holloway. Definitely one to keep hold of & dip back into. ...more
Gabor Maszlag
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book goes straight to the heart. There are so many individual stories to take the reader on an emotional journey - prisoners, warders and those on the outside of the walls are all voiced to a dramatic contextual backdrop which you can see and feel whilst reading. Many of the characters have thus far remained nameless in history but Natalie Scott has brought them to life over a century later with this superb creative reimagining. These stories have a universal quality of pathos, in that they ...more
Ann Allison
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ann Allison

Rare Birds Voices of Holloway Prison by Natalie Scott

This carefully researched book allows the imagination to fly into the minds of many of the souls who found their lives entangled in Holloway Prison. From the cheeky 'Pickpocket' full of life and hope to May McCririck giving birth in a cell alone, to 'Katie Gliddon' who when not allowed paper, kept her sanity by scribbling her musings in the margins of her precious copy of 'Shelley's Poetic Works'. The 'Warder on Duty' observing amon
...more
Mandy Huggins
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary and life-affirming collection – full of empathy, humanity and great poetic skill. It is clear that a phenomenal amount of research went into this work and Scott’s passion for her subject shines through. The caged birds in her poetry sing their songs in a plethora of different lyrical voices – they are broken and defiant, melancholy and hopeful, surprisingly tender and brutally harsh. These are characters that leap off the page and stay with you, voices that remain in you ...more
Louise Worthington
Jul 24, 2021 rated it liked it
The premise of this sounded great but it didn't deliver. ...more
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Natalie Scott is an internationally published poet from the North East of England. Her latest collection Rare Birds - Voices of Holloway Prison (Valley Press, 2020) was an Award-Winning Finalist in the Poetry category of the 2020 International Book Awards. Rare Birds features ‘Colonel Barker’, longlisted for the Live Canon Poetry Competition 2018, and ‘Katie Gliddon’, Highly Commended in the Yaffl ...more

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