28 Tales for 28 Days: The Mother’s Tale

CLUGG is sharing space and broadcasting writers’ stories of those who experience indefinite immigration detention in the UK and those who work with them.

Today’s tale centres on the experience of family separation, as told to Marina Warner and read by Sinéad Cusack:

Read more about Refugee Tales and the #28for28 campaign here.

28 Tales for 28 Days: The Unaccompanied Minor’s Tale

CLUGG is sharing space and broadcasting writers’ stories of those who experience indefinite immigration detention in the UK and those who work with them.

Today’s tale centres on the reality for unaccompanied minors who seek sanctuary in the UK and find age 18 they are detained indefinitely, as told to and read by Inua Ellams:

Read more about Refugee Tales and the #28for28 campaign here.

28 Tales for 28 Days: The Dependant’s Tale

CLUGG is sharing space and broadcasting writers’ stories of those who experience indefinite immigration detention in the UK and those who work with them.

Today’s tale is from the perspective of a child, showing the impact of government policy on the life of her family, as told to Marina Lewycka and read by Julie Hesmondhalgh:

Read more about Refugee Tales and the #28for28 campaign here.

28 Tales for 28 Days

CLUGG is sharing space

We are sharing our blog and broadcasting writers’ stories of those who experience indefinite immigration detention in the UK and those who work with them. Many organisations, including the Royal Society of Literature and Literature Cambridge, are doing the same. Over 28 days, you will find tales here, showing the fundamental power of literature to bring about change.

The UK is the only country in Europe that detains people indefinitely for administrative purposes and without judicial oversight under immigration rules. Rooted in the work of the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, and supported by the University of Kent, Refugee Tales shares the tales of those who have been indefinitely detained in immigration detention. To highlight the call for a 28 day time limit for immigration detention, Refugee Tales is releasing 28 tales online – one each day over 28 days on the website www.28for28.org. Writers and actors lend their words and voices to asylum seekers, refugees and people in indefinite detention. CLUGG supports the Refugee Tales call for an end to indefinite detention. Over the next month we will be sharing 3 of the 28 tales that centre around the child’s experience. In the meantime, watch the Refugee Tales statement:

#28for28

About Refugee Tales

Through Refugee Tales, writers collaborate with asylum seekers, refugees and people in indefinite detention who share their stories. Taking Chaucer’s great poem of journeying – Canterbury Tales – as a model, writers tell a series of tales as they walk in solidarity with detainees. As they walk, they create a space in which the language of welcome is the prevailing discourse.

Paddington Bear: Liberalism and the Foreign Subject

CLUGG Meeting Report 

In a week where issues around immigration and borders are so high up the news agenda, our guest speaker’s talk on Paddington Bear could scarcely have been more timely.

CLUGG is the acronym for the Children’s Literature Unit Graduate Group, and meets around once a fortnight during term-time. It’s a space where postgraduates and staff can discuss and get feedback on work-in-progress or share interesting research or ideas; it’s also an opportunity for exchanging knowledge and learning from other disciplines and organisations.

On 26 January, Dr Kyle Grayson, a senior lecturer in international politics at the University of Newcastle, who specialises in popular culture and world politics, visited CLUGG to present some of his research on liberalism and the foreign subject in Michael Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington.

It was fascinating from a children’s literature perspective to hear how a scholar from another discipline – politics – approached and analysed this classic British children’s book which tells the story of a marmalade-loving bear from ‘Darkest Peru’ who settles in London.

Kyle explained that he’d first become drawn to the text when he was reading it to his daughter, and its relevance to world politics leapt out at him. He shared a little of his thinking around how Paddington, as an immigrant in a supposedly liberal society, illustrates the tensions and ambivalence in such a society, as well as the precarious position the ‘different’ or ‘other’ character finds himself in. As Kyle said, you don’t get much more ‘other’ than a bear.

He spoke about how Paddington got his name – from the railway station where he met the Browns, who took him home to live with them – because his Peruvian name would be too difficult to understand (an experience that will be familiar to many from non-Anglophone cultures) and explored the challenges faced by Paddington in settling in to a strange land.

In the discussion that followed the interesting presentation, topics ranged from the recent Paddington film – which most of us felt heavily underlined the political messages that were perhaps more subtly dealt with in the book – to the importance of remembering that Paddington, as a child and a refugee, should have had rights rather than having to rely on the Brown family’s good will.

Inevitably, however, the discussion turned to the relevance of Paddington to the current geopolitical situation and West’s response to the refugee crisis caused by conflict in Syria and elsewhere. This led to people sharing ideas about how children’s literature can and does reflect and potentially influence attitudes and values around such issues.

We also discussed other books written for children that involve borders, whether they be between countries or, indeed, between ‘real’ and other worlds.

Thanks to Kyle for coming along to CLUGG and sharing his thoughts – and listening to patiently to ours – and we hope to see him again.

Jennifer Shelley