Refugee Tales

Two authors share their personal stories and discuss the extraordinary outreach project Refugee Tales

Emma Parsons and a former immigration detainee retell their personal stories, as depicted in the brilliant book of the same name. Chaired by Tom Goodman, in conjunction with Salusbury World.

Refugee Tales is an outreach project of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. Its patrons are Ali Smith and Abdulrazak Gurnah. The project started in 2015 and since then has walked and shared stories using the model of the Canterbury Tales, creating four anthologies published by Comma Press. Writers such as Jackie Kay, Kamila Shamsie and Bernardine Evaristo have works in the collections of tales, alongside first person accounts of people who have experienced indefinite immigration detention in the UK. 

“Refugee Tales is a wonderful way of re-humanising some of the most vulnerable and demonised people on the planet. This collection is both challenging and poignant. Readers will surely be moved to move their leaders to action.

shami chakrabarti

Emma Parsons

Emma Parsons started her career in journalism and editing in the 1970s as a newscaster in Iran for National Iranian TV and Radio. Her awareness of policy iniquities regarding asylum seekers and refugees was first sparked when she was in Djibouti in 1979 and wrote a feature for The Spectator on the conditions suffered by refugees from neighbouring Ethiopia. Her short story ‘The Turf Cutters’ was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and she was the scriptwriter for Don’t Shut Me!, a drama/dance performance at Jackson’s Lane Theatre. For the last twenty years, Emma has worked as a teacher in London schools and is currently writing a series of short stories for children.

Tom Goodman


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