'These guys can make something beautiful': Tracy Chevalier's new project – quilting with prisoners

The bestselling novelist fell in love with the craft while researching her last book, but now the author has found that it helps jailed men in real life

“Turn that bloody torch off. I only get two hours” is stitched into one patch of The Sleep Quilt, Tracey Chevalier’s latest project. The bestselling author explains: “The prisoner is high risk and on suicide watch, so he is woken every two hours to make sure he’s still alive. It’s been happening for 24 years for this prisoner – it’s horrifying. For him, sleep is something he craves, but it’s a horrible experience.”

After teaming up with 63 inmates in Wandsworth prison, south London, the author of novels such as The Girl With a Pearl Earring has helped them to create a quilt made up of the patches they sewed. Now that quilt is set to become a book.

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