Announcing the Longlist for the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize

The longlist for The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize 2016, run in partnership with The Leeds Big Bookend Festival, Remember Oluwale and Fictions of Every Kind, has been announced.



The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize for both prose and poetry was launched in December 2015 and closed on 6th March 2016, and attracted a large number of entries from all over the UK and internationally.

Congratulations to our 26 longlisted writers, 16 of whom are based in Leeds, and thank you to everybody who entered.

The longlist is:

Koyejo Adebakin “In the Cold” (prose) – (London)

Rachel Bower “Coppers” (poetry)

Emily Bullock “On Broadway” (prose) – (London) 

John Clarke “Helping With Enquiries” (poetry)

Josephine Corcoran “Stephen Lawrence Isn’t on the National Curriculum” (poetry) – (Wiltshire)

David Cundall “Signs and Wonders” (prose)

Gloria Dawson “Promises (for David Oluwale)” (prose)

Ian Fairley “i.m.B.B.” (poetry)

Rachel Fenton “Summer in Winter” (poetry) – (New Zealand)

Helen Forbes “The Curse of Naples” (prose) – (Scottish Highlands)

Dominic Grace “Soft Going, Heavy in Places” (prose)

Alan Griffith “In the Day Room” (poetry) – (Lewes)

Oz Hardwick “Records” (poetry)

Ian Harker “Aire” (poetry)

Clare Ibberson-John “What’s That in English?” (poetry)

Anietie Isong “The Storyteller” (prose) – (London)

Andrew Lambeth “Holler for Oluwale” (poetry)

Wes Lee “The Story Has Overtaken Me” (poetry) – (New Zealand)

Char March “Son of the Mother-whose-children-are-like-fish” (poetry)

Rob Miles “Zones of Exclusion” (poetry)

Elizabeth Ottosson “Touch” (prose)

Hannah Roche “Remembering Oluwale, January 2016” (poetry)

Dan Stathers “Excuse me for Dancing” (poetry) – (North Devon)

Chérie Taylor Battiste “He Remains” (poetry)

Catherine Vallely “A Friendship Apart” (prose) – (Ireland)

Stephen Whiting “The Weight of a Life” (poetry)

The 10  shortlisted entries from this longlist will be judged on April 27th 2016 by a stellar panel comprising the renowned Caryl Phillips, Marina Lewycka and Ian Duhig who will pick the winners and runners-up in both categories. All 26 entries and some renowned guest writers will appear in an anthology which will be published by Valley Press in June 2016. The winners will be presented with their prizes at a private Awards ceremony on Friday 3rd June at the Carriageworks Theatre as part of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival 2016.

Caryl Phillips said, “I was very aware of things such as race, violence and the city in which I was growing up. This killing of David Oluwale in the heart of ‘my’ city drove the issues home to me in a visceral manner. The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize is important because I think anything that encourages people to write imaginatively in this somewhat literal ‘reality’ age is to be encouraged. Furthermore, to ask them to imaginatively engage with both the personal and public history around the Oluwale tragedy is to suggest the ongoing relevance of those events in today’s world, and our need to constantly reevaluate where we are now in the light of past.”

Marina Lewycka said, “Through writing, we can give a voice to people whose voices are not usually heard, and I hope the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize will encourage many more people to make this wonderful discovery. I think it’s a great honour to have a chance to read and comment on the work of people right at the start of their writing career.”

Ian Duhig said, “My first job in Leeds, the head of security was one of the police gaoled for brutalising David Oluwale. The story I first heard there was a factor in my choice of a career working with homeless people, something I’ve never regretted, a gift from David.  What the David Oluwale Memorial Association represents seems vital to me and likely to become more important. Now I’m a writer, I like to see how they can inform good writing and this competition is a fantastic opportunity to encourage that, one I’m delighted to support. “

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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