Norfolk chaplain's novel view of US prison life
2010: A former US prison chaplain, who now lives in Norfolk,
has used his experiences to write his first novel, throwing light on the harsh life behind bars.
Doing Time is the compelling, true-to-life story of a young woman, Annabel Lee, who is wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a crime committed by her wayward husband. Beginning before her birth, the story opens in the rural American South of the 1950s, and tracks the brutal relationship into which Annabel Lee is born.
As she grows, Annabel Lee cannot escape the cycle of violence and abuse that surrounds her. Naively, she elopes with her teenage lover in the vain hope of an escape from her cruel past, only to discover that she has entered upon an equally harrowing stint in a women's prison.
In the unlikely fellowship behind bars, and through her relationships with inmates, staff and particularly the prison's chaplain, Annabel Lee courageously moves from the scarred existence as a victim to the life of a survivor.
Dr Jack Lawson
(58), who lives in Wymondham
, based the book on his experiences of working at the North Carolina Correctional Centre for Women
back in the 1970s.
Filled with the local colour of life in rural North Carolina between the 1950s and 1970s, Doing Time is a poignant-and at times humorous-story of multi-generational trauma and abuse, and the journey of the human spirit to healing and redemption.
Today, Jack is the training and development officer for the East Anglia District of the Methodist Church, holds a PhD in the Hebrew Bible and holds workshops on "reading the Bible on its own terms" for lay and ordained.
He is also tutor at Norwich Centre for Christian Learning at Norwich Cathedral, where the book launch will officially take place in the Weston Room from 6.45pm on Wednesday December 1.
Jack’s previous books have been in his speciality field of Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. His wife Chris, is a mental health specialist working with children and families.