Philip Pullman is part of a group of authors who have written to Justice Minister Chris Grayling criticising the ban on sending books to prisons.

The author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, who lives in Cumnor, has criticised a ban on families sending small items to prisoners – which prevents the sending of books – describing it as a “mean and vindictive piece of legislation”.

The Society of Authors – of which Mr Pullman is president – has written a letter to Mr Grayling.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “We are fully committed to providing library services to prisoners and are meeting our statutory responsibilities. A library is available in every prison and all prisoners have access to books.”