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Orwell Prize shortlists University of Warwick Human Rights Centre

Rebecca Omonira-OyekanmiThe writer-in-residence of an online magazine produced by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the University of Warwick has been shortlisted for her work by the prestigious George Orwell Prize for Journalism.

Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi appears in the 2015 shortlist alongside journalists from household names such as The Economist, The Guardian and The Independent.

Her articles regularly appear in Lacuna magazine – the Editor-in-Chief of which won the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2013.

Andrew Williams, who is also the co-director of the Centre for Human Rights in Practice picked up the accolade for his book ‘A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa’.

If Rebecca wins, it will be the second Orwell Prize for the centre in three years.

Speaking in March after being long-listed for the award, Rebecca said: “The Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the University of Warwick has a deep commitment to rigorous, in-depth investigation of important social issues. It is a special environment which combines all the best features of investigative journalism and academia.”

Rebecca’s long-listed articles are clear examples of this ethos. One, "Down the Rabbit Hole", is a lucid account of single parenthood in austerity Britain. Rebecca says: “I was in conversation by phone and email with single parent Angela for nearly a year before she agreed to the first of several interviews. All that time spent listening and researching enabled me to tell a story which is more than just the misery of poverty. It enabled me to convey the ways in which Angela, and other resourceful women like her, work around the obstacles that the state throws in their path. The truth lies in the detail.”

Lacuna magazine is now celebrating the end of its first year of production. Its mission is to challenge indifference to suffering and promote human rights. Professor Williams says: "Lacuna's aim is to bridge the gap between the short-term immediacy of daily news and drawn-out academic analysis which most readers don't have time for. In the first year, almost 19,000 readers have accessed the magazine. Rebecca’s long-listing, alongside many of Britain’s most famous journalists, is a fantastic achievement which demonstrates the quality of our work."

Lacuna magazine includes a unique combination of investigative journalism, academic analysis, film, poetry, illustration, and reviews. It also showcases the voices of professionals, activists, artists and talented student writers whose voices are not heard in the mainstream press. Highlights of the first year have also included:

The Foodbank Dilemma’ - A searching investigation of Britain’s foodbank phenomenon.

The Art of Protest’ - A moving exploration of the role of photography and art in promoting the work of the landless rights movement landless in India.

An Interview with Lesley McIntyre’ – A filmed interview of the Greenham Common campaigner and photographer about her campaign to secure rights for her disabled daughter, Molly.

Rats in the Lunchbox’ – Another of Rebecca’s long-listed Orwell pieces – A powerful investigation of the troubling impacts of London’s housing crisis as it effects the immigrant population of the city

Notes for Editors:

You can find out more about Lacuna Magazine at www.lacuna.org.uk. You can watch a video of an event hosted by Lacuna at the Frontline Club in London here - http://www.frontlineclub.com/politics-and-art-the-role-of-the-arts-in-promoting-human-rights-and-exposing-injustices/

You can find out more about the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the Centre’s website http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/research/centres/chrp/

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi

Centre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)7961 875 935

Email: rebecca@lacuna.org.uk

Andrew Williams

Centre for Human Rights in Practice

University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)7813 760 568

A.T.Williams@warwick.ac.uk

Lee Page

Communications Manager, University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255

Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221

Email: l.page@warwick.ac.uk

PR95 12 May 2015



Contacts:

Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi

Centre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)7961 875 935

Email: rebecca@lacuna.org.uk

Andrew Williams

Centre for Human Rights in Practice

University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)7813 760 568

A.T.Williams@warwick.ac.uk

Lee Page

Communications Manager, University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255

Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221

Email: l.page@warwick.ac.uk