The Memorial Garden project has good news and not-so-good news. The good news is that we have a brilliant proposal from a world-famous artist for a major piece of public art in the name of David Oluwale. We haven’t signed the papers yet so we can’t announce the name, but it is a perfect fit for RememberOluwale. Huge thanks to Pippa Hale at The Tetley for securing this artist. The not-so-good news is that work has come to a halt on the interim garden on Water Lane. This is because Asda have gone completely silent on giving us a lease for the land (having been so positive over the previous three years). The historic archway into the site has been restored, and the whole area is ripe for the brilliant plan that our architects (GroupGinger) have drawn up. But silence reigns. (Photos of the interim garden site can be seen on our Facebook page here)
The book arising from the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize has just gone to press. Edited by SJ Bradley of Leeds-based Fictions of Every Kind, it is going to be a great read. We got 70 entries for the competition. These were long listed by a well-qualified team assembled by Sarah Bradley and then short-listed to five poems and five short stories. Our famous judges — Caryl Phillips, Marina Lewycka and Ian Duhig — then chose the two best poems and the two best short stories. (Major thanks to them for their time and enthusiasm.) The book contains the 26 on the longlist, plus already published work relating to David Oluwale by Linton Kwesi Johnson, Caryl Phillips, Kester Aspden, Zodwa Nyoni, Ian Duhig, Sai Murray and the writers’ group co-facilitated by Rommi Smith, The Baggage Handlers. It also has an introduction from RememberOluwale secretary Max Farrar. The cover has been created by RememberOluwale Board member, poet and designer Sai Murray. Valley Press have done a great job with the typesetting and the book will be launched — and winners announced — on 3rd June 2016. We are immensely grateful to our partners Fiona Gell at the Leeds Big BookEnd and Sarah Bradley at Fictions of Every Kind for the huge amount of energy, goodwill and talent they have put into this project.
Our Oluwale Now event with Leeds University’s School of English drew large crowds who interacted enthusiastically with an array of talent (see flyer for details). Massive thanks to Dr Andrew Warnes of Leeds University for obtaining the funding for this from the School of English and for doing the lion’s share of the organising. We are very grateful for a grant from the Amiel-Melburn Trust so that we can do some follow-up workshops encouraging young people to respond creatively to David Oluwale and the work of our charity. The film of the event is to be edited and used as triggers in the workshops.