Letters to Gil (Hardcover)
Loyalty Silver Spring has Moved!
'A searing, triumphant story. A testament to the tenacity of the human spirit as well as a beautiful ode to an iconic figure' IRENOSEN OKOJIE
Letters to Gil is Malik Al Nasir's profound coming of age memoir - the story of surviving physical and racial abuse and discovering a new sense of self-worth under the wing of the great artist, poet and civil rights activist Gil Scott-Heron.
Born in Liverpool, Malik was taken into care at the age of nine after his seafaring father became paralysed. He would spend his adolescence in a system that proved violent, neglectful, exploitative, traumatising and mired in abuse. Aged eighteen, he emerged semi-literate, penniless with no connections or sense of where he was going - until a chance meeting with Gil Scott-Heron.
Letters to Gil will tell the story of Malik's empowerment and awakening while mentored by Gil, from his introduction to the legacy of Black history to the development of his voice through poetry and music. Written with lyricism and power, it is a frank and moving memoir, highlighting how institutional racism can debilitate and disadvantage a child, as well as how mentoring, creativity, self-expression and solidarity helped him to uncover his potential.
About the Author
Malik Al Nasir is an author, performance poet and filmmaker from Liverpool. He has produced and appeared in several documentaries with Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Benjamin Zephaniah, Public Enemy, and many other luminaries. Having been taken into care at the age of 9, Malik suffered racism and brutality at the hands of care staff until he was released at age 18, destitute and semi-literate. In 1984 a chance meeting with activist and poet Gil Scott-Heron changed his life, and Malik went on to obtain Bachelors and Masters degrees. Malik started tracing his roots back through slavery over a 15 year period and his pioneering research has been recognised by Sir Hilary Beckles (Chair CARICOM Commission for slavery reparations), historian David Olusoga, and The University of Cambridge, where Malik started a PhD in history in 2020 with a full scholarship.Malik's first book was a collection of poems published in 2004 entitled Ordinary Guy under his former name Mark T. Watson.