In Every Holt and Heath: Spatial Counter-Actions in Contemporary British Literature on Migrants

by Pietro Deandrea

Focusing on the literature on globalisation’s migrants in contemporary Britain, this article examines the forms of spatial seclusion imprisoning these new slaves – be they refugees, asylum seekers or ‘economic migrants’. More specifically, the contribution concentrates on the institutional forms of spatial imprisonment, highlighting their similarities with illegal exploitation. Works like Kay Adshead’s play The Bogus Woman and collections on refugees such as Refugee Tales, Over Land, Over Sea and A Country of Refuge point to the ways in which migrants are brutally detained and at how subtler forms of institutionally-induced detention are disseminated through the country, while proposing counter-actions which aim at reimagining contested spaces. On this final aspect, the article identifies four main strategies: meta-literary, metaphorical, re-imaginative and re-appropriative.