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Hear Our Stories: An Anthology of Writings on Migration

We understand that it requires a leap of faith to buy a book by authors who are new to you, so we’re going to be sharing a few excerpts from our recent releases to help you make that leap!

Today is the turn of Hear Our Stories, an anthology of migrant writings. This was produced in collaboration with TogetherintheUK, and was edited by Teresa Norman and Sinéad Mangan-Mc Hale alongside the late Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes.

THE BLURB:

“The only difference between you and me is a passport.”

These are the heartfelt words of many migrants and refugees seeking freedom and safety. For many, a passport is simply a means to travel, but for millions of migrants and refugees, a passport represents freedom, the right to live and work in other places and a better way of life. It is the golden ticket they need to live, to really belong. Hear Our Stories is a collection of poetry and prose about despair, hope, sadness, gratitude, and a sense of relief told by those who journey to the UK looking for a better life – the opportunity to be themselves, to connect with relatives and families or to work and grow.

Imagine making a long journey around the world; each stage involves a stop-over, a delay. This anthology is divided into different chapters representing the many ‘stop-overs’ migrants face. Each stage of their journey is filled with fear and hope – constantly questioning if they will make it to their final destination.

TogetherintheUK and Victorina Press bring together a collection of deeply personal lived experiences of migrants and refugees as they make their journey to a new life in the UK.

You can buy a copy here: https://www.victorinapress.com/product/hear-our-stories-writings-on-migration/

Here are some of the reviews for Hear Our Stories, followed by excerpts from several prose and poetry pieces in the anthology:

“Stories are more powerful than statistics; they help us to make connections and to understand just how much we all have in common. Hear Our Stories is full of courage and hope, heartache and loneliness, sacrifice and determination. We can all learn to open our hearts to others through reading this collection of lived migrant experiences. Words bring us closer together, and these are stories which need to be told and need to be heard.” Kim Leadbeater MBE, MP for Batley & Spen

“We all need to hear the stories and poems by migrants gathered in this powerful anthology. I found myself inspired, horrified, filled with compassion and simultaneously amazed by the resilience implicit in its many deeply personal stories. It provides an excellent counterbalance to the often polarised, objectifying dialogue around migration and opens the possibility of a more compassionate response to fellow human beings.” Peter (via the VP website)

“Beautifully written stories on migration – takes you into the depths of the migrant world. Hopes, fears and emotions are honestly revealed. Very thoughtful and yet just a tip of the iceberg.” Mem, (via the VP website)

“For me, a good story does not tell us how to think but rather gives us questions to make us think. This is what these TGIUK stories have achieved.” Lord Alf Dubs

Excerpt from an account by Farisai Dzemwa:

I stepped out of the revolving doors feeling like a million dollars but all they saw was an overdressed and wrongly dressed immigrant.
“Here comes another one”, they must have said to each other as I passed them.

“Another job will be stolen soon”, another would probably have said.

“Or maybe, live in luxury on our sweat, step into the benefit system and never come out”, “I hate these migrants, ignorant, lazy, parasites and thieves”, he continued.

The last statement is the part I heard said out loud and I wondered who they were talking about as I walked past them for; I never imagined it could have been me. To start with, I had never heard the word immigrant before, except reading it in a novel, and at that point it was only a word that helped shape the story that I was reading; fiction that’s all.

Excerpt from a poem by Daniel Habte, who came to the UK from Eritrea as a child:

Italian authorities found us stranded out at sea.
They pulled us across like limp fish quivering at the knees.
People half dead due to the conditions, hunger, and the heat.
We were taken somewhere by vehicles and then just dumped out on the street.

Yousef’s story:

I am one of the many people who have fled their country, searching for peace, tranquillity, and the chance of a real life. My country has been ravaged by the cruelty of the Darfur government and the militia group, the Janjaweed. Living there was rough and disgusting and I had to flee, becoming homeless in neighbouring countries. The story of my escape is brutal, but it is true and without exaggeration.

My journey began in North Darfur and on to Libya. I travelled by car from North Darfur through the harsh desert, enduring the most difficult days of my life. Along with other refugees, I travelled for 21 days in the car. The car broke down and we had to spend 17 days in the desert with barely any water. We were victim of human smuggling gangs. Gangs that offer the “desperate” the chance to escape but who treat us cruelly. To these people, refugees in search of salvation are just cheap commodities, treated disgustingly, smuggled in miserable means of transport, shipped alongside animals.

It is important that people recognise the exploitation that refugees are subjected to. It is not just the physical cruelty and hardship of fleeing their country and reaching the UK. Refugees not only have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to make the journey but then many are blackmailed once they arrive. The level of extortion is so strong and so violent; these people do not see us as humans but rather as a wasteful commodity which can be disposed of without a second thought.

This is not a story; it continues day in and day out.

Excerpt from a poem by Michael NDoun:

Picture your average victim of torture.
Appears confident, purposeful and
competent
but masked by pain and treachery.
Beneath the surface (which is in itself
another journey),
you will find a broken, lost
and fragile individual on the verge
of giving up.

Look out for more Sneaky Peeks, coming soon!

One Response

  1. In a time of demonisation of the other, this anthology is an important corrective, people are not just migrants, refugees, asylum seekers. They are important as people with their own stories to tell.

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