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Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners:

Susheila Nasta in conversation with Derek Owusu

Susheila Nasta MBE is Founder of Wasafiri, the magazine of international contemporary writing she launched in 1984 and led till 2019. A literary activist, writer, and presenter, she has judged several literary prizes including the 2021 David Cohen award, offered for a lifetime’s work in any genre. She is currently Professor Emerita in Modern and Contemporary Literatures at Queen Mary College. She has published numerous books and articles since the 1980s, writing on Caribbean, South Asian and black British writing with a focus especially on Sam Selvon, black women’s writing as well as one of the first books in Britain on the literatures of the South Asian diaspora.  She is committed to public engagement and has directed several projects, including most recently a touring exhibition India in Britain (in collaboration with the OU, the University of Exeter and the Indian High Commission. Recent publications include Asian Britain: A Photographic History (2013), Brave New Words: The Power of Writing Now (2019) and her editorship with Professor Mark Stein of the first Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing (2020). Currently completing a biography of The Bloomsbury Indians, she continues to act as literary representative for the estate of Sam Selvon. In 2019, she received the Royal Society of Literature’s distinguished Benson Medal, a mark of a lifetime’s achievement. In 2020 she was made Honorary Fellow by the English Association for her lifelong contribution to English Studies. She sits as a member of Council of the RSL.

https://www.qmul.ac.uk/sed/staff/nastas.html; www.wasafiri.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susheila_Nasta

 Derek Owusu is a British podcaster, award-winning writer and poet from North London who’s book, That Reminds Me, was the first published on Stormzy’s imprint, #Merky Books.That Reminds Me, won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020; it is the story of one young man, from birth to adulthood, told in fragments of memory. It explores questions of identity, belonging, addiction, sexuality, violence, family, and religion. In 2019, Owusu collated, edited and contributed to SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, an anthology exploring the experiences of Black men in Britain. He discovered his passion for literature at the age of twenty-three while studying exercise science at university. Unable to afford a change of degree, Owusu began reading voraciously and sneaking into English Literature lectures at the University of Manchester. Owusu is the former co-host of the literature podcast Mostly Lit.

Derek Owusu 

Susheila Nasta