It has just been announced that Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi from the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the University of Warwick has been long-listed for her work by the prestigious George Orwell Prize for Journalism. If Rebecca wins, it will be the second Orwell Prize for the University of Warwick’s Centre for Human Rights in Practice in three years.
The long list for the George Orwell Prize for Journalism 2015 has been announced this week. Alongside journalists from household names like the Guardian, Financial Times and Economist, you will find Lacuna magazine writer-in-residence Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi. Lacuna is an on-line magazine produced by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the University of Warwick.
If Rebecca wins, this will be the second Orwell Prize for the University of Warwick’s Centre for Human Rights in Practice in three years. Editor-in-Chief of Lacuna and Centre co-director, Andrew Williams, won the Orwell Prize for Political Writing for his book ‘A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa’ in 2013. Judges praised Williams’ investigation of a killing by British soldiers in Iraq as being "written in the spirit" of Orwell's journalism.
When asked what features of the Centre, and its new magazine Lacuna, could have led to this double accolade, 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:
Centre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick
Tel: 07961 875935 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre for Human Rights in Practice
University of Warwick
Tel: 07813 760568.
Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy University of Warwick
Tel UK: 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile
Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell
PR74 27th March 2015