The TogetherintheUK’s Story-Telling Competition has now closed!
No further submissions will be accepted at this time
Thank you to those who have entered. We will keep the voting panel open for a further two weeks before selecting the winning shortlisted entries which will be presented to the judges.
You can still vote for your favourite stories, poems and essays for the next two weeks until Sunday, 16th May, after which we shall close voting and shortlist the entries to be submitted to the judges to select our final winners in the various categories on the 8th July 2021. Good Luck all!
Please do read up on the judges below the submissions
Act 1 [Melodeclamation piece]
Act 1 [Melodeclamation piece]
It’s not even a story, to be fair, just a normal kind of -
Oops, I live here now, innit.
There’s no reason really to even go there, cuz you ain’t gonna find anything interesting. No reason, no drama, nothing worth mentioning in your Insta story. Maybe one day I’ll make a TV show about it. It will go something like:
Ladies, gentlemen and other genders, welcome to the Great Migration Show, where Margot - formerly known as Małgorzata - reveals her reasons for leaving Poland.
Part one: A Lesbian Affair.
Is it still a lesbian matter is the star of the show wasn’t even sure if she liked girls in the first place? I mean, at 18 it’s hard to be sure about anything, let alone things like a mega-crush on an androgynus-looking friend, who has left Białystok for England one day.
And BTW, don’t try dissing the city of Białystok, yeah,
cuz it’s the main one there in the region mate,
FYI the one that hasn’t been demoted
in the great administrational conflict,
reform let’s party like it’s 1999,
other settlements scattered like crumbs,
Białystok towering is loud and proud, so shut your mouth,
just because you’re living in the big London town
doesn’t mean you can cast judgements on geographic locations you simply know nothing about.
Anyway, as I was saying, what do you know about yourself at 18? The rejections hurt.
It was the first chance to take her life in her hands and leave Białystok (ain’t nothing wrong with the place, y’hear!).
It was the first chance to take her life in her hands, unmitigated by her mentally ill mother and hardworking father
Oh, he was hardworking, alright, working hard to intimidate her sensitivity,
sitting on the sofa in front of the TV,
in his underwear, playing with his testicles -
that’s the level of mindless familiarity that is hard to bear for an artistic 18 year old,
let’s face it, hardly inspiring sight,
nothing to write home about.
The late night calls on the landline - the phone’s cord stretched to its limits between the hall and the bedroom, sliding door shut, yet with huge gaps between the edge of the door and the carpeted floor [she didn’t choose the colour] and the paper thin walls of a 39m2 box in a social block studded with invigilate neighbours, old women - dog walkers whose antennae pick up the faintest whisper of softly unfolding blossom of the first serious conversation featuring feelings and attempts at naming the status quo between our star and the androgenus… lover [god, how things have moved on], some words spoken out loud [ever so quietly] for the first time, micro-movements of hands, gazes over the first ever beer with raspberry syrup in a place where nobody asked for the IDs. It was nice that.
Until that old one with a mohair beret and a plastic bag scrunched up under her garb, stuffed with unidentified objects, what’s that all about? How many times is it normal to circle the grass bit by the bins, like it’s some kind of an outlet for existential first aid kits and pass the sale by date sweets.
Paid advertisement starts here
The kits come in all shapes and sizes, for tears and general sadness, for marital infidelity and dogs swapped at birth.
Keep in rigid covers for maximum duration and personal satisfaction.
Sweets - a reminder that things could get harder, so appreciate what you’ve got. Items for consumption at client’s own risk. Alternatively, they make original ornaments - perfect as birthday gifts.
Paid advertisement ends here
Until that one, the Bin Shopping Queen with meticulously applied lipstick pearly pink, with a fat dotted dog that was gonna be a miniature poodle but turned out to be a cheap Russian scam, much larger in fact than anticipated by anyone, most of all her -
The Human Bear,
who once upon a time wished for a child,
but the male rejection stuck in her heart like a shard,
so she settled for a cute pup
It could have been perfect but
Was swapped at birth or spent too much time amidst the ambiguous Western goods
of compromised quality,
brought to you painstakingly
on a longer detour via Azerbaijans, Kazakhstans, deep taigas, tundras and meanders of the Eastern barons in charge to the market underneath the arch.
Truly international stuff.
Now, for the last time -
Things were going well until that old one, picked up the latest intel on the budding love, and released it to the aether guarded perversely by a whole army of them, some worse - more wrinkly and with uglier dogs. Rumours spread like wildfire, which engulfed both parents like a pair of potatoes thrown into the fire - essentially perfectly lovely when cooled down a tad. However, bursting with heat of wrath right now. Keep your distance!
With only 39m2 worth of floor to move around. Nowhere was far enough from the lava of accusations, overspill of expectations, family shame. And all she’s been thinking about was:
How a man who spends his life between shifts,
clad in a skimpy pair of briefs
and a wife-beater,
how does he get to call the shots?
Talk about family shame, for real!
And her little cousin - camp as Christmas - will join priesthood in a few years time, raising zero suspicions amid uncles and aunts.
How’s that fair?!
Speaking of queer raves, on 25th of December 2003, after 3 months of separation, letters sent across borders, our anti-hero here, enrolls successfully onto a Polish Philology degree course - next best thing after an epic fail with the exam for the prestigious acting school in the capital -
Damn them! Rigged, the whole thing anyway.
The process of ‘straightening’ in the eyes of the parents went extremely well, so much so that the permit to visit her ‘friend’ in England was granted in the shape of a coach ticket. 31 hours from the departure she arrived at Victoria Coach Station.
Wow. I’m free.
But don’t panic, child, remember the training, the breathing, the spatial awareness. Take it all in. Your greatest acting challenge begins.
Meet the Judges
Director, British Future
Sunder is the Director of British Future, a thinktank with a particular interest in migration. His career includes working as a Commissioning Editor at MacMillan, he has worked as a journalist and leader writer for the Observer. His parents came to the UK from Ireland and India to work for the NHS. TogetherintheUK is very pleased that Sunder has agreed to be a judge as someone who will be able to judge what works on a literary level and who has a deep understanding of migration.
Sunder says, ‘Sharing and hearing personal stories can often be the most effective way to build empathy and understanding, so I very much look forward to seeing what the competition brings’.
Founder and Executive Director
Nazek started Migrant Voice ten years ago when she identified that migrants were scapegoated and talked about and that migrants needed to speak out and be part of that debate taking place about them without them. Migrant Voice is a campaigning organisation speaking out on issues of injustice and working to strengthen different communities. Nazek is originally from Lebanon so understands migration very well both from her own personal experience and as a campaigner. TogetherintheUK is very pleased that Nazek has agreed to be a judge on the Creative Writing competition as someone whose organisation has just published a fantastic ebook, celebrating Black History in the West Midlands and someone with deep insight into migration. Nazek has kindly donated a place on her Media Lab programme to one lucky winner.
Nazek says, ‘ Migrant Voice has led on lots of different campaigns over the years, all geared to developing migrant voices sometimes through arts and poetry, through engaging with the media or through images. Its therefore obvious to me that I would want to encourage more voices, more creativity so of course, I want to be a judge on the TogetherinthUK competition.’
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Dubs came to Britain from Czechoslovakia in 1939 on the Kindertransport. He is a Labour politician having spent many years as the Labour MP for Battersea and he is now in the House of Lords.
Lord Dubs says ‘I am delighted to be a judge for TogetherintheUk’s creative writing competition 2020. I know from my own experience how disorientating it can be to arrive in a new country and I think it is fabulous that the competition will give migrant children the chance to write about their own experiences. This is an opportunity for children to tell your own stories about what it was like for them and what helped them get through this challenging time. I am really looking forward to the difficult task of choosing the best poem or story and seeing all entries published by TogetherintheUK’.
Public Relations Officer of the NCBA
Tyrone Roach is the Public Relations Officer of the NCBA – National Council of Barbadian Associations UK, an umbrella group for Barbadian Association in the United Kingdom. Where he has previously served as Chairman; He is also Chairperson of the Barbados Overseas Community Friends Association
Presently he is UK correspondent for the Barbados Nation Newspaper, a publication he has written for periodically over ten years, with responsibility for UK content, Editorial, advertising and Distribution – Online and in print
He has been responsible for several large events in the Barbadian community in England, where he worked closely with the Barbados High Commission. Events include the Independence Panel discussion, Barbados Forward Thinkers – Youth Seminar, A lil bit of Bim and the Barbados day event in Ipswich, both EXPO of Caribbean culture and products
His experience of working with connecting migrants from the Caribbean to the UK with their country of origin has given him a depth of knowledge of the challenges and joys of migration, plus, of course, he knows good writing. Hopefully!
Tyrone says, ‘ I am looking forward to seeing the creativity in the under 18 category I know that these young people will have their own, unique perspectives – and this will enable me to see how society has changed significantly over the last year’.
Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Jonathan is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College, London. His current research is on labour mobility both within and outside the European Union. He is a much published author both of academic books and articles in the press. He is well qualified to act as a judge in the TogetherintheUK creative writing competition as someone who has lived in both the USA and the UK and whose many talents include synthesizing complex topics like migration into something easily understood by most of us.
Jonathan says ‘I am continually fascinated by how and why people migrate and their experiences so I am very much looking forward to reading the entries and I am sure that I will be inspired by what people write’.
CEO and Founder
David Marshall founded Marshalls Elearning Consultancy in 2002. It specialises in diversity bringing together technology with experts in diversity. Marshalls provides all kinds of creative products to the market, all of which are designed to help organisations become more inclusive and diverse – constantly developing the ability to listen to different voices. David has very generously donated a Chromebook as the Marshall’s prize.
David says, ‘I am a sponsor of TogetherintheUK’s work as I love how they find different stories from different people, I have learnt so much from reading them about how people arrive in the UK and what works for them in building their lives here. I was delighted to be asked to be a judge on the competition as I want to know more’.
Consuelo is the publisher of the Victorina Press, she is a writer of poetry and short stories both in Spanish and English. She is Chilean/British and an academic and a publisher. She came to the UK in 1992 and before leaving Chile, she was an active political campaigner against the regime of General Pinochet. The mission of Victorina Press is to publish ‘inspirational books’. TogetherintheUK is delighted that Consuelo has agreed to be judge, as someone with personal experience of migration, a publisher and an author.
Consuelo says, ‘I love poetry and I love to read original work so I am very much looking forward to the creativity that I am sure will pour out of people when they sit down to write their entries’.