We now invite you to submit new short stories and poems which creatively respond to David Oluwale’s life and death for an anthology that reflects on David’s story, explaining its relevance today.
The Remember Oluwale charity was formed in response to a call for a memorial in Leeds for David Oluwale by Caryl Phillips, whose book Foreigners: Three English Lives (Harvill Secker, 2007) included an account of David’s life and death. David arrived in Hull in 1949, from Nigeria, and was found drowned in the River Aire in Leeds in 1969.
During his time in Leeds, David faced a range of issues: mental ill-health, homelessness, destitution, racism, police brutality, and incarceration in prisons and hospitals. Kester Aspden’s The Hounding of David Oluwale (Vintage, 2008) sets David’s life and death in context, and gives details of the trial of the two Leeds police officers accused of his manslaughter. Now, today, David’s story has resonances with the murders of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown in the US, which were the spring for the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Yet there was also extraordinary hope and kindness in David’s story: from the psychiatric nurse at High Royds Hospital in the 60s who tried to help him write home to his father in Nigeria, to the friends who tried to help him following his release from hospital. The Remember Oluwale charity is building a Garden of Hope in the city centre as the flagship for its campaign to help make Leeds a city which responds positively to all those who endure the range of issues faced by David.
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. Thus, we note that David was a courageous man who resisted the police officers’ attempts to expel him from the city; that his friends tried to support him on his release from psychiatric hospital; and that his case prompted the city, (led by his supporters in the black communities and welfare organisations), to mend its ways.
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.
The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize
We now invite you to submit new short stories and poems which creatively respond to David Oluwale’s life and death for an anthology that reflects on David’s story, explaining its relevance today. Your story or poem can respond to David’s life and death, or take as its starting point these issues of marginalisation, exclusion, or kindness and hope, reinterpreted as you see fit.
First prize: £100 to be awarded to 1 fiction writer and 1 poet each
Second prize: £50 to be awarded to 1 fiction writer and 1 poet each
20 runners up: A copy of the Remember Oluwale Anthology containing their poem or story to be published June 3rd 2016 by Valley Press
Terms and Conditions
- Entry is £3.
- Entries must be written in English and be your own work. We will consider previously published work, providing that you own the rights and consent to the work to be republished in the anthology, Remember David Oluwale to be published by Valley Press in June 2016.
- By entering this competition, you give your permission for your poem or story to be published by Valley Press in the resulting anthology, Remember David Oluwale, as well as permission for your entry to be used by The Leeds Big Bookend Festival and Remember Oluwale for promotional purposes.
- Entries must be a minimum of 10 words but no longer than 20 lines for poetry, or a maximum word count of 2,000 words for prose.
- Entries open on Sunday 20th December 2015 and must be submitted using our Submittable portal. Please format your work in either .doc format (preferable) or PDF format (if poetry requiring a specific layout.) Please save your story in the format title.doc and avoid saving your name as part of the file name.
- No more than one entry may be submitted per person.
- Winners will be notified by email no later than May 21st 2016.
- The judges decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
- For contest enquiries please email: rememberoluwalewritingprize@
- Deadline for submissions: March 6th 2016
- Publication and launch at the Leeds Big Bookend Festival: 3rd June 2016
Caryl Phillips grew up in Leeds and is the author of numerous books of non-fiction and fiction. His awards include the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN Open Book Award. He is Professor of English at Yale University. His latest novel, The Lost Child, was published in 2015.
Marina Lewycka was born in a refugee camp in Germany, and now lives in Sheffield. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (2005) , published when she was 58 years old, sold a million copies in thirty five languages. She has since written three more novels and her fifth, The Lubetkin Legacy, comes out in May.
Ian Duhig is a poet based in Leeds. He is a former homelessness worker. His seventh book of poems The Blind Roadmaker is a PBS Spring 2016 Recommendation. A joint winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for short stories, Duhig has won the Forward Best Poem Prize, the National Poetry Competition twice and three times been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.
He has written about David Oluwale for the Big Bookend. You can read his article here.