Derek Owusu is a writer, poet, and podcaster from north London. He discovered his passion for literature at the age of twenty-three while studying exercise science at university. Unable to afford a change of degree, Derek began reading voraciously and sneaking into English Literature lectures at the University of Manchester. Derek edited and contributed to Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space.
That Reminds Me, his first novel, won the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize, the most prestigious UK prize for debut novels.
‘That Reminds Me is the story of a young child growing into adulthood while negotiating the impossibly difficult circumstances of émigré life compounded by foster care, poverty, racism and varieties of cultural difference. Derek Owusu tell this story with extraordinary insight and emotional subtlety, almost inventing a new literary form as he takes you into this child/man's experience on an intimate, nearly cellular level. To call it moving is an understatement.’
‘Owusu is a writer of jaw-dropping talent and That Reminds Me will break over you like a storm, seething with wonder, wisdom, lightning, terrors and so much heartbreaking beauty. Simply glorious.’
‘This book is a dreamy, impressionistic offering of reassembled fragments of memories emerging through the misty beauty of a deliciously individualistic poetic sensibility with flashes of Twi and UK London Ebonics to further remind us of what has been missing from British poetry . . . I can't tell you how impressed I was and how much I enjoyed reading this stunning book.’
‘That Reminds Me is a profoundly moving book about Black bodies and identity, and about God, sex, family, art, love, and madness. It is somehow both tender and unflinching, and the prose has both the lyricism of verse and the direct simplicity of overheard speech. Derek Owusu has made a vital contribution to our culture, and it should be widely read.’
‘When writing is this honest, it soars. I think that this is why the words in this collection fly around you and settle, as they have. What an incredible use of language and truth.’
‘Honest, insightful, and woven together in a narrative that will undoubtedly change lives.’
‘These are words that come from the heart, the lived life and owned observations. Powerful and moving. Social realism at its best.’
‘That Reminds Me reads like an open wound. The prose runs like a pulse, builds like the beat of some lowercase drum. Honest and beautiful.’
‘A fast-paced, dense, poetic, original, and bewitching story by an important new writer. That Reminds Me will long be remembered by readers.’
‘A magnificent achievement.’
‘A singular achievement.’
‘[That Reminds Me] amounts to a short, sharp, and stinging tone poem that the reader won’t want to put down.’