The disclosure by Home Office minister, Lord Williams of Mostyn, came in a parliamentary written reply to Earl Longford, a long-standing campaigner for child killer Myra Hindley to be freed.
Nilsen, now in Whitemoor Prison, is suspected of killing up to 15 homosexual men. He picked up rent boys and homeless men at gay bars and lured them into his north London home where he strangled them. He chopped up the bodies and flushed them down the toilet.
Lord Williams said: "Under Prison Service standing orders prisoners are allowed to submit works of literary merit for publication but only through charitable organisations approved by the Prison Service. Mr Nilsen will be advised of the correct procedures for doing this." A Home Office spokesman made clear that any publication would have to be arranged through a charity. "Any proceeds will go solely to the charity in question," he said. The poetry would not be allowed to include "indecent, offensive or threatening language" and/or information about other inmates and the crimes that have been committed.
Nilsen's murders caused widespread disgust among the public who were told that he started chopping up the bodies to deal with the "smell problem". With bodies piling up under the floor boards in the summer heat, he decided to dissect them. He has said that he would get "blind drunk and occasionally run in the garden to throw up". According to reports, Nilsen recently spoke in letters of his pride in his crimes.
Following Lord Williams' disclosure, there will be concern among the victims' families that he may want to describe anything in his poetry that alludes to them. Although none of the main publishing houses are likely to be interested, a more off-beat one might decide to buy his work.
Published revelations of convicted killers have caused outrage previously. Gita Sereny published Cries Unheard, a book about child killer Mary Bell, with whom she struck up a relationship.
The book resulted in a witch hunt of Mary Bell, who had started a new life under a new name. The Times came under fierce attack by several politicians for its decision to serialise the book which contained disturbing details of Mary Bell's state of mind at the time of the murders.Reuse content