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Ellen’s novel idea on asylum seekers

Who's been making the news around your way this week?

01 December, 2017 — By Emily Finch

The story of an Eritrean refugee inspired Ellen Wiles to write a book

A FORMER barrister was so struck by an asylum seeker’s case she has turned their experience into a novel. Ellen Wiles, who lives in Highbury, celebrated her book’s release with a launch event on Friday at the highly appropriate Migration Museum in Vauxhall. “It was a really good event. The museum presents migration in a beautiful way,” said Ellen. She wanted it to be an immersive experience for guests, to allow for a deeper insight into what it means to be a refugee struggling to find a new home. Radio producer Olivia Humphreys played a snippet from her podcast A New Normal where producers gave audio recorders to refugees; Eritrean singer and multi­disciplinary artist Lula Mebrahtu performed, and local Eritrean caterer Freweiny supplied nibbles. Ellen’s new novel, The Invisible Crowd, published by Harper Collins, focuses on an Eritrean asylum case and brings to life legal documents which contain so much but are often skimmed over in court to form a barrister’s argument. “I was drawn to these amazing human stories underneath the dry legal language and I wished there were more novels sharing them, so I decided to try to write one. I had an instinct to write more creatively than I was able to in law,” said Ellen. To find out more go to Ellen’s twitter: https://twitter.com/ellenwiles

Prince and the power of charity

Neil Jones from 10:10, right, with Switchboard volunteers Jennifer, Andrew and Richard

THE artist formerly known as Prince is the surprising influence behind the installation of a new batch of solar panels at an LGBT phone charity based off Upper Street. Switchboard takes calls from members of the LGBT community who require emotional help. A survey this year found eight out of ten transgender youngsters have self-harmed and almost half have attempted to kill themselves, showing how they are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Switchboard is one of six charities across the country installing solar panels thanks to Camden-based organisation 10:10. “We’re passionate about making Switchboard as sustainable as possible both for the environment and for our service users,” said Louis Stupple-Harris from the charity. “We love the story of Prince’s philanthropic work, his dedication to people in need of support and his commitment to the environment, the combination of which made taking part in the campaign an obvious decision for us.” Before his untimely death, the US musician secretly donated thousands of solar panels to charities to help them cut electricity costs and show his support. “Earlier this year we raised £800 via our Prince-themed fundraiser, which was also a great opportunity to talk about our work for LGBT+ people and the necessary changes we can make at Switchboard to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Louis. “Not only will the solar panels be beneficial to the environment, they will cut several hundred pounds off our energy bills each year, which helps us keep the lights on so we can continue to answer the phones 365 days a year.”

It’s murder at the community centre!

Geoffrey Howse at the reading event

MANY might not think tales of the borough’s most notorious murders would be so popular at an over-65s book club but Geoffrey Howse had the crowd at Whittington Park Community Centre hanging off every word. “It was very enjoyable, someone picked me up from home and gave me a cup of tea at the centre,” said Geoffrey. He told the audience the story of murderer Hawley Crippen, the Camden resident who was the first person to be caught by wireless telegraphy in the early 20th century. “He was able to escape with his mistress bound for Canada,” said Geoffrey. “She was disguised as a boy but because Hawley was over affectionate to his young son it attracted the captain’s suspicion. Dr Crippen was actually apprehended before they landed in Canada because of wireless telegraphy. The chief inspector who was hunting him down caught a faster ship.” The story comes from Geoffrey’s book the A to Z of London Murders and he is currently writing a book about a 17th-century statesman.Geoffrey will return in the new year for more book readings organised by the Whittington Park Community Association. To find out more got to: www.whittingtonpca.org.uk

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