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Remembering Oluwale

Short stories and poems responding to the story of David Oluwale.


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The result of the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize, launched in late 2015, this exciting anthology features 26 new poems and short stories, alongside the work of famous writers, responding to the story of David Oluwale. Including prize-winning pieces by Char March, Ian Harker, Dominic Grace and Anietie Isong, as well as the full longlist, it is a collection of thoughtful and poignant responses to David Oluwale’s story.

David was hounded to his death in the River Aire in 1969. The 1971 trial in Leeds, UK, of the two policemen accused of his manslaughter generated newspaper and magazine report by Ron Phillips, a BBC radio play by Jeremy Sandford and poetry by Linton Kwesi Johnson. Then David was forgotten. But the issues that David embodied of hostility to migration, racism, mental ill-health, homelessness, police malpractice and destitution continue to scar British society to this day.

Remembering Oluwale is an inspiring reflection on David’s story. It includes extracts from recent books about David Oluwale by Caryl Phillips and Kester Aspden, as well as previously published poems by Ian Duhig, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sai Murray, Zodwa Nyoni, and a performance by The Baggage Handlers. This body of new and earlier writing serves as a clarion call for us to re-make our neighbourhoods as places of inclusion and hospitality.

‘In Claudia Rankine’s poem ‘Citizen’ the speaker is asked in England if she will write about Mark Duggan. She replies “Why don’t you?” Our competition entrants rose to that challenge over David Oluwale’s story and its continuing echoes for our society in new and moving ways. Their work stands confidently beside that of better-known writers in an anthology all can be proud of, a document of their refusal to be silent in the face of abusive power.’
— Ian Duhig, Forward Poetry Prize winner, T.S. Eliot Prize shortlistee; most recent collection Pandorama (2010)

‘I was amazed how this haunting story from almost 50 years ago still has the power to move and to inspire a younger generation of writers. The fine pieces in this anthology show just how much it resonates with issues that continue to trouble us today.’
— Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (2005) and, most recently, The Lubetkin Legacy (2016)

‘The passion and moral urgency informing these new voices gives one hope for the future of both imaginative writing and our society’s health.’
— Caryl Phillips, writer, Guggenheim Fellow, winner of the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, and author of The Lost Child (2015)


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2016-06-02

ISBN: 9781908853714

Catalogue Number: VP0088

Number of Pages: 138

Cover artwork by Sai Murray

Cover design by Rosa Campbell

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