Hostile Country, Hospitable Language: Telling Stories to Survive History. Contemporary Attempts in British Literature and Theatre to Reshape the Language of Migration

by Daniela Salusso

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers: many words to describe human beings who leave behind their homes, their loved ones, and their identities to build a new life in a host country. However, due to historical and cultural issues, nowadays the UK is a hostile environment rather than a hospitable, welcoming one. Three interesting contemporary projects will be analysed and compared: Anders Lustgarten’s 2015 play Lampedusa, the two volumes of Refugee Tales published in 2016 and 2017 by Comma Press and the anthology A Country of Refuge, edited by Lucy Popescu and published in 2016 as part of the Unbound project. What they have in common is the search for a language that is able to grasp and convey the complexity of migration from the point of view of all those involved: not only refugees and asylum seekers, but also coastguards, lawyers, interpreters, social workers, and many others.