28 Tales for 28 Days, will see 28 stories about the experiences of those affected by indefinite detention read by such actors and writers as Jeremy Irons (pictured above), Maxine Peake, Kamila Shamsie, Neel Mukherjee, Zoe Wanamaker, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Christopher Eccleston, among others, and will be hosted on YouTube.
The project is a call to action for politicians to institute a time limit of 28 days on immigration detention, which under current legislation is still indefinite in the UK. The UK is the only country in Europe that detains people indefinitely, with over 27,000 people detained in this fashion in 2017.
28 Tales for 28 Days builds on the Refugee Tales project and is rooted in the work of the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. Using the model of The Canterbury Tales, Refugee Tales shares the stories of those who have been indefinitely detained. To preserve anonymity, leading writers work with people who have experienced detention and the resulting collaborations are performed as part of an annual walk.
28 Tales for 28 Days begins today, on September 11. Each day for 28 days a reading of a tale will be released online, with a final tale to be read at Westminster to highlight this important cause as a new Parliamentary session begins.
More than £9,000 was crowd-funded in just over a month to pay for the filming and distribution of the videos. The actors and authors involved all volunteered their time and various organisations volunteered their venues to serve as a backdrop.
The project is co-organised by Professor David Herd, from the School of English at the University of Kent. Professor Herd said: ‘The UK’s policy of indefinite detention is inhumane and has to end. In 2017 both the Bar Council and the British Medical Association issued reports calling for an end to indefinite detention. The 28for28 project is designed to raise awareness of this issue and we urge politicians to take action as a matter of urgency.’
The project has launched with a reading by Jeremy Irons and will be followed in the first week by readings by novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, actress Maxine Peake and comedian Sameena Zehra.