The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize 2016 Winners Announced

Dominic Grace (Leeds) has won the prize for the best short story, with Anietie Isong (London) as runner up and Gloria Dawson, highly commended, in the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize competition. Char March (Hebden Bridge) and Ian Harker (Leeds) were the joint poetry winners, with Alan Griffith and Wes Lee highly commended.


From left to right, back: poet Sai Murray; joint winner, poetry, Ian Harker; judge, poet Ian Duhig; highly commended poetry, Alan Griffith; highly commended prose, Gloria Dawson; Front row, Max Farrar; Fiona Gell; SJ Bradley; winner, prose, Dominic Grace. Photo: Raj Passy.

At the Awards event at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds on Friday 3rd June Remembering Oluwale – An Anthology published by Valley Press was launched. It includes all of the 26 longlisted entries for the Prize, along with work by famous writers, provoked by the story of David Oluwale. The anthology, edited by SJ Bradley, contains many thoughtful and poignant responses to David Oluwale’s story.

David Oluwale 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 a 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 his life embodied (hostility to migrants, racism, mental ill-health, homelessness, police malpractice, incarceration and destitution) continue to this day to scar British society.

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 Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ian Duhig, 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 all our neighbourhoods as places of inclusion and hospitality.

Praise from the Oluwale Writing Prize judges:

Caryl Phillips, writer; most recent novel The Lost Child, “The passion and moral urgency informing these new voices gives one hope for the future of both imaginative writing and our society’s health.”

Marina Lewycka, writer; just published The Lubetkin Legacy, “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.”

Ian Duhig, poet; most recent collection The Blind Roadmaker, “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.”

9781908853714The Remembering Oluwale anthology results from a collaborative project between the RememberOluwale charity, the Leeds Big Bookend and Fictions of Every Kind, all based in Leeds.

It is published by Valley Press, and can be purchased here.

Full details of the The Remember Oluwale Writing Prize can be found here including the full longlist and shortlist of winners.

More photographs from the Awards night can be found here. Photos by Raj Passy.


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