Sunday, 26 June 2016

Left Field - 'Really Impressive'

Left Field quotes

MUNDHER ADHAMI: A brilliant achievement. The cover, the quotes, the dedication, the arrangement and titles of chapters. The language of novels. Really impressive.
AMIR AMIRANI, Director of 'We are Many': When I met David I was astonished not just by his warmth and friendliness and knowledge, but also by his contacts, and he was very generous sharing them with me. I will be speaking with David at South Bank literary festival and at WOMAD, discussing his book and the film that I made and where we can find interesting parallels.
SEBASTIAN BALFOUR: A vivid account of a life fought for justice, full of indignation and tenderness.
MANUELA BESTE: This is surely going to be your core readership - the 1960's generation who grew up with you, agitated like you, still hold true to these struggles like you and today's new generation of angry, frustrated, hopeful young people who are organising for a better and fairer world ...I found the book interesting, moving, thought-provoking, instructive. It thoroughly held my attention .. I wish I could think in visual metaphors like you.
NORMAN BOYER: You write very sensitively and lovingly about your parents. It must have been very hard for you and your Dad to cope with your mother’s accident. And secondly to cope with his slow death for your father and for you with - pardon the cliché - the long goodbye.
DOROTHY BYRNE, head of Channel 4 News and Documentaries: What a life this man has led.
STEVE DAY: Whatever your political currency or preferred methodology toward life, we can all agree on the absolute necessity for honesty, humanity and love, wherever possible, and on all fronts. Wilson's lively and challenging memoir keeps the reader in the grip of this, his frontline message. You weave through the rough and tumble of a life being shaped by events, then of a man intent on reshaping events, and helping rebuild the lives of others - particularly children - who were less fortunate. He held his line even when his own much beloved charity War Child was found to contain corrupt elements - whistleblowing on those he knew were threatening what had been built, and suffering the isolation that comes with this sort of honesty. History, celebrity, scandal, war and humour - Left Field is a personal report worth reading.
TIFFANY DRAKE, music therapist: David's courage and passion enabled those moments of reconciliation through music which was incredibly powerful to be a part of and a very real privilege for us to witness ... David's book can show us what can be hopeful and healing.
BRIAN ENO: This is an excellent and inspiring book. David is an adventurer and a freethinker, who, despite the best efforts of an education designed to equip him for obedient anonymity, somehow did something truly useful with his life. His stubborn and yet self-effacing commitment to his ideals carried him through many daunting situations, and his sense of humour kept him able to see the funny side.
DAVID HENCKE, former Guardian Westminster correspondent: This is the work of a determined guy who is prepared to expose fraud and injustice wherever he finds it.
RICHARD HORTON, Editor of The Lancet: You write absolutely beautifully. Thank you for your wonderful book.
MANDLA LANGA, author of 'The Lost Colours of the Chameleon' and winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize: David Wilson is a national treasure.
SHADE MAKEKODUNMI: Have finally started reading THE book. It's fantastic. Love it. The early childhood stories remind me so much of my own childhood. Despite the fact that I was brought up in Lagos. Shows you the reach and influence of the British Empire. My parents also gave sherry parties!! And of course I too became an activist, perhaps not as young as you but by age 18, at uni, I had joined a Maoist type group and was marching against the Vietnam war.
ORHAN MASLO (OHA): One of the key people of my life has finished his book. There is a chapter that describes the times we spent together. What good times we had while giving spirit to the Pavarotti Music Centre. This was after my orphanage times and steered me to who I am and what I do today. Thank you David.
RUSSELL MILLS: You’ve done so much, achieved so much, that is for the good, the right, the just, that to be asked to undertake the cover design for you, which may be considered a minor thing in the great scheme of things, is for me a bloody major thing.
CRAIG MURRAY, ex-Ambassador and whistleblower, David's entire life has been dedicated to trying to make the world a better place ... He was at War Child where he did a tremendous job and then he had the soul-destroying experience of finding the institution he had started being perverted and having to become himself a whistleblower and tell the truth ... As is always the case the whistleblower ends up being the person suffering damage. It is very much to David's credit he was willing to take that on.
ELVEDIN NEZIROVIC, Director Pavarotti Music Centre: I have to say I'm impressed by your book. I'm still reading it, but after I finished the chapter associated with Mostar and Pavarotti Center, I feel deeply touched. I don't know why. I don't know if it is because of hard times of war I passed through or it is because of the local significance of your humanitarian engagement in my city or it is maybe because of sincerity of the book. Thank you for everything you've done for my city and for my generation of people here.
GRAINNE PALMER: A fascinating and authentic account of political activism from someone who has walked the talk. This book is a 'must read' for anyone concerned with fighting injustice and violence in our world. It's an illuminating window into the social history of political activism over the last few decades. I couldn't put it down. It's also a page-turner peppered with passion, wit and human interest. Elegantly written too.
DEBBI READ: I write this as I sit in the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar. It's obvious that David's tireless work before, during and after his time as Director of War Child still sits deep within those whose hearts have been touched by him in Bosnia Herzegovina. My time here confirms all that Left Field records, and only increases my admiration for the writer, his courage, wit, determination and politics. This memoir is a compelling read: the history of one man, lost battles and one war. If this doesn't inspire you nothing will.
UNBOUND'S FIRST READER of 'Left Field': A personal and philosophical study of humanity.
EUGENE SKEEF: I am so elated to have read Left Field. I feel like a child at the fountain of narratives. David Wilson is truly one of the greatest storytellers I have ever met or read. For me he is right up there with Alice Walker, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mandla Langa and Ariel Dorfman ('Writing The Deep South') in his ability to enchant the reader while telling about harrowing and politically charged life experiences.
SIR TOM STOPPARD: David Wilson has lived a life and a half. I was proud to play a minor role in War Child, an organisation in which David was inspirational. The broken world needed people like David then; it still does and it always will.
ED VICTOR LITERARY AGENCY: Your relationship with your elderly father is described in such beautiful style that it would not be out of place from a literary novel by an established and seasoned author. The same goes for your childhood years at boarding school ... The 'Balkan years', including the bits where you fall in love with a Croat and the adventures of the mobile bakery could be from a historical thriller. The whole 'War Child' section could be an expose about the problems and hidden lives of charities, especially when they become powerful.
MICHAEL WALLING, Artistic Director, Border Crossings: 'Left Field' is fantastic. So much I don’t know about someone I know well… and so much vivid colour around the bits I did know well. The Mostar sections are incredible - and salutary. Loving it.

Left Field at WOMAD and at The South Bank Centre

'Protest in the Digital Age' (Huffington Post) 

Buy Left Field

Friday, 17 June 2016

We are Many

Amir Amirani's "We Are Many' has been acquired by Universal Pictures for worldwide distribution, (excluding USA!), and it will be available on iTunes from July 18th and DVD from August 1st. Selected cinemas across the UK are bringing it back in time for the release of the Chilcot Report on July 6th. I am delighted that I will be with Amir on a panel at the South Bank Centre on 2 July as part of their "Protest in the Digital Age' event. Joining us are Gillian Slovo and Haifa Zangana He and I will also be at the Global Voices session at the WOMAD music festival on 31 July. Buy Left Field here

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Protest in the Digital Age

100,000 Signatures: Protest in the Digital Age
Royal Festival Hall, Saturday 2nd July 2016 
12.30 – 13.30
Panel Discussion. Speakers include Amir Amirani; Gillian Slovo; David Wilson and Haifa Zangana.

More details     Huffington Post        Buy Left Field

Sunday, 12 June 2016


If you ever wondered what an activist is or does, then read Left Field and you could be forgiven for thinking that Wilson was wired from a very early age for adventure and rebellion, from his mothers exacerbated remarks to the cobbler in Bromley, ’I don’t know what he gets up to’ as she handed over his battered Clark’s shoes, to his impulsive decision to set sail for Argentina when he was 16 years old. But along the way, this impulse towards action was leavened and combined into a burning commitment to the underdog across a host of groups and contexts at both a national and international level.
'Left Field' takes us through his rejection of the hypocrisy and elitism of the public school system, to which he was subjected, to his CND involvement, the Vietnam conflict, anti-apartheid protests, the miners strike and importantly the Bosnian war, which was a major and lengthy engagement for him through the role he played as founder and director of both the charity, War Child, and the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar. Alongside these political engagements, the creative and adventurous side of his life finds expression in his play writing and the sometimes dodgy deals in the art world of the newly emerging eastern European nations. This latter is thriller stuff!
Interlaced with humour, anecdotes and with a sense of irony, even in the most destructive of situations, the book is intelligently and engagingly written and gives a vivid and honest, blow by blow account of an exceptional life at both a personal and a political level. The many digressions from the political to the personal, from the moving last days of his fathers life, his home in Bromley, the many domestic challenges he faced and the extraordinary achievements of the Pavarotti Music Centre in a theatre of war, all work to weave together a mosaic of a life lived to the full.
What is refreshing about this book is the absence of ideological preaching. It is just Wilson, sharing his life experience but with a host of rather depressing implications for the reader to draw, significantly, how power elites at all levels, even charities, work to maintain the status quo, how ethnicity is used to divide and rule and the necessity for activists to stay close to the grass roots. It’s an absorbing read.
Maureen Larkin
12 June 2016

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

On its way to the USA?

Dawn Neely Randall My British friend David Wilson's book, Left Field, was recently released, though it hasn't found its way to the U.S. yet. I want to change that. My goal is to get a copy to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since it is very much music-based. I also want to share it with friends so there is a demand for it to be picked up by the American market. It's a brilliant piece of work. If you're interested, you can look it up on Amazon (David Wilson, Left Field) to see if it's available in Kindle edition. For now, this is a snippet of what it says on Amazon here in Europe: "As the co-founder of War Child, he was instrumental in bringing a mobile bakery into war-torn Bosnia. In 1995 the charity gained prominence with the release of the Help album. Contributors included David Bowie, Brian Eno, Paul McCartney and Sinéad O'Connor. Help captured the world’s attention and brought the healing power of music to young people whose lives had been devastated by war. Left Field is an engaging and humorous memoir which will inspire not only Wilson's generation, but also today's young people who are campaigning for a better, fairer world." I'm pretty much in awe of David this week. Amazing how I've known him for four years now, but had no clue about all his major accomplishments and activism or all the people he's helped. Or, all the music stars he's friends with. Yep, it needs to make its way to the U.S.A.