The book is a year-long project undertaken by the author in order to find a way to connect to his younger brother as Owusu’s brother “was getting into an increasing amount of trouble and rapidly losing interest in his own life”. Each month, Derek will give his brother a book (fiction, non-fiction or poetry), and pay him to read it. At the end of the month, they will meet and discuss the book, its content, what it said to them both, and what lessons (if any) it offered.  As much as this is a book about connecting to literature it is also a book about two brothers connecting with each other. 

Derek will pay his brother (who hates reading) to read a new book each month, ranging from fiction, non-fiction and poetry. At the end of each month the two brothers will meet to discuss the book, its content, what it said to both of them and any lessons it might have offered.

Teaching My Brother To Read is about two brothers connecting with each other through their own connection to literature.

Idris Elba of Green Door Pictures, commented:

“Derek’s book will be an inspiring exploration of brotherhood and how literature can influence and transform lives. We are genuinely excited about adapting this book as a work of fiction and non-fiction.”

In addition to writing the book, Owusu will record a Teaching My Brother To Read podcast.

We’re very excited that Green Door Pictures have picked up the film/TV rights to this wonderful project. The book is set to release in 2021, following his first solo work That Reminds Me, a novel-in-verse, also published by #Merky Books, on 14th November 2019.

Mahamed Hashi

Mahamed co-founded the Brixton Soup Kitchen in January 2013 with his co-founder Solomon Smith, both Lambeth youth workers of 19 years, and lifelong Brixtonians. Realising the desperate need for such an organisation, they help homeless people and Londoners in need by providing free food, support and company. Their aim is to empower people in a warm and friendly environment, helping them to gain the confidence and self-worth needed to get back on their feet.

Mahamed is also heavily involved in the community and is a representative of several community groups. These groups include: the Lambeth Community Police Consultative Group, the Lambeth Stop & Search Monitoring Group (former chair), Pan London Community May Monitoring Network for Stop and Search (former chair), London Probation Trust Forum, Territorial Support Group Community reference group (TSG CRG), the Trident Independent Advisory Group (Vice Chair) and the Black Mental Health Commission in Lambeth.

He has also been recognised for his work by South London Press, who awarded him with the ‘Our Hero’s Award’, has been featured in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy 100 list, as well as in the Evening Standards top 1000 influential Londoners in 2015, 2016 and 2019. In 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy by London Metropolitan University in recognition for “outstanding work with young people and the wider local community”.

Most recently, Mahamed became the first Elected Somali Councillor in Lambeth, representing Stockwell Ward and won the national LGIU Councillors Achievement Awards just 6 months into his new role.