Shakespeare and Company

On Prison, Literature and Grief with Preti Taneja

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Episode notes

On 29 November 2019, Usman Kahn attacked and killed Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt at Fishmongers Hall in London, and was later shot dead by police on London Bridge. Jones and Merritt were involved in a prison education programme in which Kahn had participated. All three had gathered at an event that day to mark five years of the programme. Preti Taneja also worked on that programme as a teacher of creative writing in prisons. Jack Merritt oversaw her work. Kahn was one of her students. Aftermath, is Taneja’s attempt to come to an understanding of these events both how they called into question what had come before and the grief and trauma they engendered.



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Preti Taneja is a writer and activist. Her first novel, We That Are Young, won the Desmond Elliott Prize and was listed for awards including the Folio Prize and the Prix Jan Michalski. It has been translated into several languages. Her second book is Aftermath, a lament on the language of prison, terror, trauma and grief. Taneja is Professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She is a contributing editor at And Other Stories, and at The White Review.

Adam Biles is Literary Director at Shakespeare and Company. Buy a signed copy of his novel FEEDING TIME here:

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