Snakes and Ladders
by Angela Williams
It was no surprise that Angela Williams went to jail. A traumatic, violent upbringing saw to that. But after serving a short sentence for theft as a teenager, she became a model of rehabilitation. Thirteen years later, Angela was studying, teaching, providing a stable home for her son, and finally getting her life together. Then she got hit by a postie bike, and Police realised that Angela had ten months remaining on a prison sentence she thought was in her distant past.
However, Angela was a different prisoner the second time around: no longer a scared, damaged nineteen-year-old, she knew how to speak up for herself and her fellow prisoners against a system of power, privilege and cruelty that controls the lives of Australia’s most vulnerable women and offers little hope for redemption.
With unwavering courage, intelligence and humour, Snakes and Ladders reveals an astonishing true story of falling through the cracks, and what it takes to climb back out again.
Praise for Snakes and Ladders
‘Tough, courageous, and moving, it’s about empowerment as much as powerlessness and, ultimately, the nature of power.’
‘[Williams] has mastered her craft. Her prose is free of fluff and packed with wit and careful thought.’ Meanjin
‘Snakes and Ladders is devastating and brilliant. Williams is a tremendous writer, her insight into power and punishment is brave, honest and revealing.’
About the Author
Angela Williams is a high-school drop out with degrees in Media and Communications and Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative Arts. Angela describes herself as having lived too many lives for one body. Across the years, she has worked as an academic, waiter, manager, salesperson, sex worker, glassie, health education officer, dominatrix, and very unsuccessful criminal. Born into a family rife with addiction, personality disorders, cyclic child abuse and mental illnesses, Angela escaped into words as a child, fantasy as an adolescent, heroin as a young adult, and came back to words when she found education.
Weighed down as she was by her history, Angela always refused to be a silent victim. Her first-hand insights have appeared in several different publications, including speaking as ‘Jennifer’ in an article about mental health in NSW prisons by Inga Ting which was a finalist for the 2011 Human Rights Media Award. Snakes and Ladders is Angela’s first book.