Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Refugee Tales edited by David Herd and Anna Pincus + Giveaway

Refugee Tales edited by David Herd and Anna Pincus
Published in the UK by Comma Press in July 2016.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Barbed Wire

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from /
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

How I got this book:
Gift from a friend

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Two unaccompanied children travel across the Mediterranean in an overcrowded boat that has been designed to only make it halfway across…
A 63-year-old man is woken one morning by border officers ‘acting on a tip-off’ and, despite having paid taxes for 28 years, is suddenly cast into the detention system with no obvious means of escape…
An orphan whose entire life has been spent in slavery – first on a Ghanaian farm, then as a victim of trafficking – writes to the Home Office for help, only to be rewarded with a jail sentence and indefinite detention…
These are not fictions. Nor are they testimonies from some distant, brutal past, but the frighteningly common experiences of Europe’s new underclass – its refugees. While those with ‘citizenship’ enjoy basic human rights (like the right not to be detained without charge for more than 14 days), people seeking asylum can be suspended for years in Kafka-esque uncertainty. Here, poets and novelists retell the stories of individuals who have direct experience of Britain’s policy of indefinite immigration detention. Presenting their accounts anonymously, as modern day counterparts to the pilgrims’ stories in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this book offers rare, intimate glimpses into otherwise untold suffering.'

I received a copy of Refugee Tales as a gift from friends, one of whom, Andy, took park in the original Refugee Tales walk - A Walk in Solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Detainees. In order to raise awareness of the plight of many people trapped in never-ending detention in Britain, people walked for nine days more-or-less along the old Pilgrim's Way, stopping to rest at night and be told stories. Those stories have now been collected into this book. The Walk was organised by Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group and Kent Refugee Help, two charities to which all the profits from this book will go.

Refugee Tales is a varied mix of short stories and poetry by an impressive roster of novelists, poets and storytellers: Ali Smith, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Chris Cleave, Marina Lewycka, Jade Amoli-Jackson, Patience Agbabi, Inua Ellams, Avaes Mohammad, Hubert Moore, Stephen Collis, Michael Zand, Dragan Todorovic, Carol Watts and David Herd. What all the pieces have in common though is that they are not fictions. Shocking and heart-rending tales of suffering, trafficking, state betrayal and abandonment are difficult enough to read, but knowing that each of these stories is essentially true makes them especially powerful.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Short stories / Political books / Books from England

And now for the giveaway.

This week I am offering my own carefully-read copy of Refugee Tales as the giveaway prize. The book was given to me and it feels right to pass it along in the same spirit, raising awareness of these detainees plight by doing so. My giveaway posts generally have up to four times as many views as standard book reviews so I know I will reach the most people this way.

If you'd like the chance to win this important book, here's the giveaway widget:

Refugee Tales book giveaway

The Giveaway is open worldwide and previous giveaway winners are welcome to enter. Entries must be submitted through the Gleam widget by midnight (UK time) on the 19th October and I will randomly pick a winner on the 20th. If the winner does not respond to my email within 7 days, they will forfeit the prize and, yes, I will be checking that entrants did complete whatever task they said they did.

Good luck!


  1. I've started reading books, that are not cookbooks again and this one really appeals to me as its connected a little to my day job.

    1. It's a thought-provoking mix of Tales and I love how the different voices blend so well.
      Good luck in the giveaway!

  2. Congratulations to Desiree who has won my Refugee Tales #giveaway!
    If you weren't lucky this time, I've a new giveaway already running here! Good luck!

  3. I'm always looking for more poetry reads because I love poetry and I really like the good quality kind. And this also melds in some short stories which only makes it a plus! I love the sound of this one being specifically about refugee tales. Very relevant for today!