Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize

(Image from David Oluwale Memorial Association webpage)

I'm currently helping to organize the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize, a collaboration between Fictions of Every Kind, Remember Oluwale, and the Big Bookend Festival. Shortlisted entries will be published in an anthology published by Valley Press, and four winning entries will win cash prizes. We are really pleased to have an amazing judging panel of Caryl Phillips, Marina Lewycka, and Ian Duhig.

David Oluwale came to the UK from Nigeria in the 60s, in search of work and a better life. During his years living in Leeds he faced a range of issues like mental ill health, victimisation by members of the police, homelessness, and worklessness. His life and shocking death are written about in more detail, in Caryl Phillips' book Foreigners, and in Kester Aspden's book The Hounding of David Oluwale. 

We may notice that some of the issues faced by David -- mental ill health, marginalisation, homelessness, displacement, and racism -- are issues faced by many in our city centres today.

The Remember Oluwale charity was formed following a call to memorialize David in Leeds City Centre, by poet Caryl Phillips. "The charity’s aim is to reflect both the city’s woeful neglect and persecution of David, and on the signs of hope contained within his story.. The charity suggests that Leeds has to do more to address multiple issues of marginalisation and exclusion. Anyone, of any background, colour, or class, can and does experience many of David’s tribulations. In a world in which mass migration is promoted by war, environmental degradation and acute economic inequality, and in a city where social problems are increasing as public expenditure falls, ‘David’s issues’ are interlocking and they are multiplying."

For more information on how to enter the contest, please go to the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize page on the Big Bookend website.

Currently reading
Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
The Shapes of Dogs' Eyes Harry Gallon  

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