The Extraordinary Ordinary, the podcast from Women of the Year, shines a light on incredible achievements by women who you’ve probably never heard of (until now), but whose passion, dedication, and fierce determination has changed society, their communities and the world, in ways that will inspire and uplift you.
Whilst she was teaching literacy in prisons Sharon Berry became increasingly dismayed by the damage their enforced separation caused the prisoners and their children. Her response was to create Storybook Dads, so that fathers could record themselves reading stories and sending messages to their children at home. From a small start in just one prison, her scheme is now in100 prisons across the country and includes mothers too. The model has been copied by the Army (where it’s called Storybook Soldiers), Navy (Storybook Waves) and Airforce (Storybook Wings) and around the world.
Sharon talks about the pleasure it brings her to enable prisoners to have meaningful contact with their children, the broader ways the scheme helps them to be rehabilitated and the pivot she was forced to make during lockdown. In this candid and fascinating conversation she shares her own story of leaving school at 16 and the university lecturer she met whilst working in a bar who changed the course of her life.
In this episode we’re also joined by the fabulous actress, Tamzin Outhwaite who talks about her memories and experiences of being at the Women of the Year Lunch, the special young guest who became her “sidekick” and the feeling of being surrounded by warrior women.