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Prison bars for the Chipping Norton Set?

A prison cell doorPatrick Neale, co-owner of Jaffé & Neale Bookshop & Café, could be the first of the Chipping Norton Set to end up behind bars. A pillar of the community, Patrick maintains his innocence, but then they all do, don’t they?

The Howard League for Penal Reform is campaigning to maintain access to books for prisoners in England and Wales, following a ban from the Ministry of Justice that prevents families sending parcels to prison inmates. A team of brave ‘defendants’ are facing an online jury who are paying to send them to gaol. The six defendants with the most donations to their name will spend June 19th in the cells at the old Hammersmith Magistrates Court, with one book of their choice.

Patrick Neale has chosen Dostoyesky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ as his prison read, despite advice from Will Self. ‘Will advised me to opt for Jeffrey Archer’s ‘Prison Diaries’,’ Patrick said, after meeting the author and journalist at a publishing event. ‘Apparently it has a really authentic voice.’

Patrick has just stood down as President of the Booksellers’ Association, after two years in office, and is facing potential imprisonment with a mixture of good humour and trepidation. ‘I want to make sure that anyone who goes to prison can be sent books. Education is an essential part of rehabilitation, and besides, buying books is good for my business!’

Anyone wishing to send Patrick to prison can make a donation . If convicted, he’ll be the first of the Chipping Norton Set to go to prison. Will he be the last?

 For more information, or to arrange an interview with Patrick email or call 01608 641033. Proceeds from the event will be split equally between the Book Trade Charity and The Howard League for Penal Reform. A press breakfast will be held at 8.30am on Friday 20 June – email to reserve a place.

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