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I've never felt at home anywhere.

A conversation about the stories we tell

LISTEN

"I've never felt at home anywhere because I've never been treated like I'm from that place."

Sonny - Writer & Activist

CONTRIBUTORS:

This story is part of an ongoing project in collaboration with the Kent Refugee Action Network [KRAN]. For this storytelling project, KRAN's youth ambassadors are sitting down with people in their county and asking them about their migration stories and experiences with prejudice. All of us, in one way or another, have a migration story - be it in recent years or hundreds of years ago - and all of us deserve equal opportunity and a safe place to live. Below is a conversation between Grmalem, Mohamad - both KRAN youth ambassadors and Sonny - writer & activist.

The following transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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Mohamad: Hi my name is Mohamad, I am from Syria, and now I live in Canterbury. Today we are on the beach in Margate with Sonny. Sonny can you tell us about yourself?

 

Sonny: Yeah, sure… I have lived in Margate for about a year now. I moved down here from London, but I am originally from Australia. I write a lot of short fiction about my experiences growing up as a mixed-race kid in Australia. And stories about my grandfather and the racism he experienced after moving to Australia from Greece just after the second world war.

 

Grmalem: Does Margate feel like home to you?

 

Sonny: I've never felt at home anywhere because I've never been treated like I'm from that place. So anywhere I go feels like home, and doesn’t feel like home, in a way. Margate feels just as much as home as Wollongong in Australia where I grew up. I'd say home is an elusive word. It's strange. It's a very hard subject to talk about sometimes because I feel the psychology of home is up here in the mind, more than it being physically around you. I think that realisation comes with getting a bit older because I probably would have felt a lot more out of place in my early 20s. But to get back to your question about home, it's a strange one, I struggle to describe what home is or means to me.

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"I'm working on a novel called Roadside Zombies in Calais, which is switching the whole dynamic around where white middle-class people from a wealthy area in Hampshire are flocking to Calais for unknown reasons. "

Sonny

Mohamad: Can you tell me more about your writing?

 

Sonny:  I write a lot of fiction inspired by being an Australian, but not always being recognised as one, instead being asked the questions like Where are you really from? Simply because I am not white.

 

When I moved to the UK, and saw on the news everything that was happening with refugees in Calais, I wanted to craft a story about that. So, I'm working on a novel called Roadside Zombies in Calais, which is switching the whole dynamic around where white middle class people from a wealthy area in Hampshire are flocking to Calais for unknown reasons. They're leaving their kids playing in the back yard and they just walk right out of the house, they're jumping on a train, they're traveling to Calais and nobody knows why. It is set in 2032 and there's a fungi like mushroom that is taking over their brains and making them go to Calais. And then they get put in refugee camps because they’re acting like zombies. It's a Sci-Fi zombie thing, but it's also asking you to imagine what it would be like if you were locked up in a Calais detention centre.

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"One of the best ways to bridge gaps is to share and exchange stories."

Sonny

Mohamad: Why do you think it is important to tell these stories?

 

Sonny: I want to write stories about the things my friends talk about, stories about their experiences. I hear these stories all the time, but I don’t have anywhere to read them. I don't feel like there's enough stories of people of colour. And I think one of the best ways to bridge gaps is to share and exchange stories, and to listen to people and hear their opinions as well.

 

Grmalem: How do you think refugees can benefit from storytelling?

 

Sonny: I feel that storytelling is a great way to engage with people and speak out in your community. It doesn't have to be in fiction or writing your story down, it can be just expressing yourself in any way that you feel represents your strength.

Learn More About

The Kent Refugee Action Network