We stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters in America and we will do all we can to support the work happening on the ground there. We want to amplify the letter and petition from The Movement for Black Lives (a collective of Black organisations from across America including Black Lives Matter) to defund the police in the United States. In their letter they state:

According to the Urban Institute, in 1977, state and local governments spent $60 billion on police and corrections. In 2017, they spent $194 billion. A 220 percent increase. Despite continued profiling, harassment, terror and killing of Black communities, local and federal decision-makers continue to invest in the police, which leaves Black people vulnerable and our communities no safer. 

Read their letter in full and sign the petition here

By signing the petition you are joining our American family in demanding local American officials take the pledge to: 

  • Vote no on all increases to police budgets 
  • Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets 
  • Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, Education, and Community programs that keep Black people safe. 

It’s also important that it is acknowledged that systematic and institutionalised racism against Black people is not just an American issue.We have our own longstanding issue with these injustices in the UK from racial profiling to police brutality and murders.

Alongside this the UK government repeatedly fails us from allowing Grenfell to happen to more recently delaying the report with findings about why COVID-19 is disproportionately causing deaths of Black and Brown people.

This is a time for us to speak out, support the organisers on the ground and educate ourselves and each other. Art has always been one of our most powerful forms of protest and activism and we will always use the OWN IT! platform to shine a light on the voices working to make our world a more just and equal place for all.

We want to show our support with more than just words so we will be donating all of our publishing profits for the month of June to George Floyd’s family.

We are also open to hearing from any UK Black owned organisations fighting against police brutality and racial injustice about ways we can support.

#BlackLivesMatter Always.

OWN IT! will connect stories and readers at home during their first (online) arts festival

We are launching a week-long online arts festival between the 8th and 14th of June featuring live readings, discussions, conversation sessions and workshops from authors and artists that we publish and represent.

Among the authors participating are Derek Owusu and Courttia Newland. Owusu whose critically acclaimed book That Reminds Me was the first novel to be published by #MerkyBooks and has been longlisted for the Desmond Elliott prize will be in conversation with literary hallmark Newland whose speculative fiction novel A River Called Time (Canongate) will be published in January 2021 to discuss the evolution of The Black British Novel.

MC Angel (Moments of Significance) will offer a workshop on how to creatively express the significant moments in your life while Ashley Hickson-Lovence will present a live reading and discussion of his debut novel The 392.

Sam Conniff and Alex Barker will deliver a workshop on How to be More Pirate and rewrite the rules in your life while author JJ Bola will reflect on his journey to writing and publishing. Poetry fans will be able to enjoy a session between Sophia Thakur (Somebody Give This Heart a Pen, Walker Books) and pioneer Salena Godden including a first live reading from Godden’s debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death (Canongate) which will be published in January 2021. Football enthusiasts will get to see Stormzy’s co-author Jude Yawson in conversation with Nile Ranger and listen to Kevin George reading from his book Soccology.

Other highlights include BBC Africa journalist Yemisi Adegoke who will launch her new podcast ‘The Art of Storytelling’, a live reading and discussion with playwright Sharmila Chauhan on cross cultural relationships and the Third Space and Kirsty Latoya who will deliver a workshop centred on Art, Poetry & Wellness.

Empowering the viewer to realise their ambitions, Rose Cartwright, author of the critically acclaimed book PURE which was adapted for television and is currently streaming on Netflix, will speak on how to become a writer when you have no financial safety net. In addition, self-starter Reggie Nelson, who went viral as the 23-year-old from Canning Town who knocked on doors in Kensington to make it in finance, will host a session on career development.

A finger on the pulse of our time, singer Jermain Jackman, winner of the BBC talent show The Voice (2014), will be in conversation with fellow political activist and social entrepreneur Mahamad Hashi who is the founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen.

As an antidote to the lockdown blues, comedian Quincy will present ‘Daddy Issues: Face Off’ featuring special guest comedian Slim.

With a broad range of events to choose from, OWN IT’s first online festival will be offering inspiring stories for all readers. Stressing the importance of storytelling in our lives, especially at times like these. The OWN IT! team commented

“We’re very lucky to have an eclectic and inspirational group of storytellers as a part of OWN IT! and we decided that in a time when hope is more important than ever, we wanted to collectively offer something which could bring people together, share practical tips and advice and help people get lost in creativity while hopefully feeling empowered

The one thing that we can always be sure of is that when things are at their worst is when the arts, artists and activism is most important and powerful so we’re very excited to be producing the first OWN IT! arts festival and grateful to all of our authors and artists for making this happen.”

Tune in to Salena Godden’s ‘Roaring 20s’ radio show on Soho Radio on the 6th of June for an OWN IT! special as a taster to the festival. We will also be releasing a playlist of songs from 1982 to celebrate the late photographer Stuart Goodman’s whose beautiful photography book One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market we published earlier this year.

Feel free to just come along or sign up for a ticket and be sent a reminder of your session here

ANNOUNCEMENT: Ashley Hickson-Lovence’s, The 392 – to be available as audiobook!

1 year on from its publication, we are so happy to share that Ashley Hickson-Lovence’s debut novel The 392 will be available as #audiobook via @audibleuk.

Happy Publication Birthday to all formats of The 392 – Hardback, Paperback, e-book + soon to be Audiobook!

Set entirely on a London bus travelling from Hoxton to Highbury and taking place over just 36 minutes, the events of The 392 unfold through a cast of charismatic characters coming from very different worlds, but tied together through a shared suspicion as the threat of terrorism looms. This explosive novel will be an incredible adaption into audiobook.

For Hardback + Paperback editions visit OWNIT.LONDON/SHOP

Rest In Peace, Stuart Goodman 1947-2020.

A Beautiful Soul Is Never Forgotten.

Rest In Peace, Stuart Goodman 1947-2020

We’re so sad to have to share that today we lost Stuart Goodman to COVID-19. We were lucky enough to publish his book ‘One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market’ two weeks ago today.

We weren’t able to go ahead with the launch and most shops had closed at that point but that didn’t stop the swell of support and love for the book. We’re so thankful that Stuart got a chance to see how well received and loved his work was.

Stuart at the time we published his book was 72. Brought up on a council estate in Hackney, he went on to work as a Fleet Street press snapper and picture editor for over 25 years. The minute we saw Stuart’s photos we knew we wanted to publish his book and the minute we met him we knew he was one of us.

It’s a privilege to publish ‘One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market’ and to have had the chance to work with Stuart. It’s such an important book, one that captures and preserves a time and community which would otherwise be easily forgotten. Stuart will never be forgotten. He was part of the OWN IT! family and he lives on through the beautiful photographs and words he left with us.

Stuart Goodman + his lovely wife with (most) of the OWN IT! Family.

Excited to share that we will be publishing ‘One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market’. A collection of stunning B&W photos of a forgotten time in this East London market’s history, taken by ex-fleet street photographer Stuart Goodman

These black and white photos candidly picture the lives of shoppers and shop owners on this East London market in Hackney, which has since become unrecognisable. ONE SATURDAY IN 82 ON BROADWAY MARKET preserves images of an East London landmark that has changed from desolation row to one of London’s trendiest markets.

Also featuring Stuart Goodman’s account of his and Stephen Selby’s role in setting up a community initiative to save Broadway Market from demolition, Goodman speaks of the London that existed before gentrification. An East London native, brought up on a Hackney council estate, Goodman had lived in the market and been a shop keeper there for 6 months before photographing it for the first time…

…37 years later, OWN IT! are proud to publish his photographs in a new book, at a time when the market has changed beyond belief.