Monocle Reads: Derek Owusu


Hello. This article reads Jordan Godwin today. I'm speaking to Derek Omarosa. It's just been announced as the winner of this year's Desmond Elliott Prize the flagship award in the National Center, for writings portfolio of early career awards, the UK's most prestigious award for first time novelists. He's a writer, a poet on a podcast from north London. He fell in love with reading twenty-three while studying exercise science at university. Eager to learn more, he obsessively read the classics and even snuck into English literature lectures. That reminds me. His First Solo work was the first book to be released on storms these murky imprint. Explores addiction identity, belonging and much more through the fragments of one young man's memory. Derrick welcome to Monaco reads. Can you start by telling us a little bit about your? Originally my background was basically export so I used to be like a personal trainer and try to be an amateur. Build. So literature reading dinner factor into my life a tool until I went to university. And basically my exercise science lecturer, thinking with my research methods luxury. Basically said he thinks we should go to the library books because we'd have to read research papers, and again into that kind of Moat, a good way to did I reach or read some of the classics. So into the library. Picked up a book of Stories by Lawrence. And I read I. Read the first story which was sent more and I. Just everything just changed for me. I was kind of just like. Why wasn't that reading before? So enjoyable I really. Did somebody to me maybe. I. Don't WanNa say pulp was reading, but it did make me I almost me. Fill out a how to superpower. Being able to read. And absorb this information and have my nation working and tried to figure out. What does this mean? What does that mean? What does this represent was wolf trap told me. So. Yeah I decide devoured books. I'd start reading lows of classics without knowing their classes. I didn't know the classic legislated just regular books to be honest with you, so I had no idea. The office were dead I didn't know Oscar. Wilde was dead. I didn't know enforced that Yeah Winfrey the more came back a real, a real found boys trust. I love the idea of reading as the superpower. I think that's absolutely correct. Just catapults US everywhere in the world. I mean. The thing is that you didn't come from illiterate background you were raised in foster care in Suffolk and then you move back to live with your biological parents in a really and environment, so it wasn't the easiest of upbringings. No it wasn't. It wasn't so when I when I was in Suffolk in Foster, CARE Of Young people have traumatic experiences in foster care I wouldn't say that it was terrific I guess on the Outside Even on my interior at the time didn't feel any trauma in all. In one place you get moved around I did. In one place seven years. My foster parents quite old you the white middle class family, the visuals very small, what he knew chuck or so I. Really I really liked it. I think for me. The traumatic experiences started when I moved back to London. And I wasn't told. You've got to London. That was. I didn't get to say goodbye to. MY FOSTER MOM! And, this is something that gets reflected in your writing. Let's talk about then how you crossed over from being Rita into being a writer. So. You know those those appointed London where everybody wants to be like Iraq or or an MC. And I was one of them so I just started like writing lyrics to instrumentals. Makita but problem I had was that. I was trying to squeeze too much information into one line, so when it came to record in I would go over with the the ball basically, and just wouldn't sound good to buy will always be writing a think, pages and pages pages of lyrics. And they're always so complicated on my friend who I used to. I used to do this. Whip usually saves me. Why are you writing? Such complicate things. To Myself. I'm not this. Isn't this just how people? Wrapping things like that. So the we didn't last very long. And then I I just. I remember ozone housing by several. They actually on facebook once and. Ago Who's in my class in in? School, she basically posted a poem that she'd written on facebook and I was out of that school and we start talking. Why don't you try and write one? Sappho case I just brought one on the sport. That's all right. It's not it's actually not that bad so I just started by lights homes in my spare time. That no, no one was going to see them just doing them because I enjoyed the writing process, I think when I decided that. I wanted to write something long form that might maybe send to like an online publication or something when I was in Uni and A friend of mine is tied like an online application. And I was reading a lot and I. Just what can I read some book views? We post them issues. Is there any good thing? Yeah, sure. I did that they were. Actually. They'll probably terrible She posted them, and then I started my more and more around more poems I tried to get one of the lectures at the University of boats into read machoism. Critique them some tips. which she begrudgingly, did she she emailed me back and said I don't normally take people's poetry if he's not on my course, while do three feet. Critique basically said that terrible. which was which was that a time trying to rise limits I? Remember sitting in my room I. Think for a couple of hours, really just

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