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15 May 2023

King's PhD student's book on racism and health shortlisted for Orwell Prize 2023

‘Divided’ by Dr Annabel Sowemimo unravels the colonial roots of modern medicine and exposes racial biases in healthcare that affect our everyday lives.

Dr Annabel Sowemimo's book 'Divided' shortlisted for Orwell Prize 2023

A book on racism in healthcare by King’s PhD student, Dr Annabel Sowemimo, has been shortlisted for the 2023 Orwell Prize for political writing in the non-fiction category. Her book ‘Divided’ explores the colonial history of modern medicine and systemic racism in healthcare.

Dr Sowemimo is a part-time PhD student in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine where she studies the experiences of Black women with fertility control methods in Britain. She is also a recipient of the Dr Harold Moody postgraduate research scholarship at King’s.

Responding to the news, Dr Sowemimo said: "I’m very overwhelmed. Writing is a very vulnerable process, particularly when you are sharing deeply personal experiences about your life and challenging the status quo. I’m also a bit sad because my Nana passed away last year and I dedicated Divided to her. I would have loved for her to see what it has become."

Prizes are not the end goal. However, they definitely send a message to those that don’t wish to have these conversations that we are mounting a resistance and we won’t be silenced. It is also important for those too frightened to speak out about injustices. Seeing others speaking out can be restorative.

Dr Annabel Sowemimo, GHSM PhD student

Dr Sowemimo is a doctor, academic and activist who has been working on addressing racial disparities in healthcare. She is co-director and founder of the charity Reproductive Justice Initiative and Sexual & Reproductive Health Registrar in the NHS.

Annabel Sowemimo is a leading voice of her generation on topics of health and justice in the UK, and it is an honour to have her as a member of our PhD student community.

Professor Anne Pollock, Head of Department, GHSM, and Dr Sowemimo’s supervisor

The Orwell Prizes, named in honour of political journalist and novelist George Orwell, are among Britain’s most prestigious awards for fiction and non-fiction political writing. Dr Sowemimo’s book, launched in early 2023, has been shortlisted in the non-fiction category. The winner of the prize will be announced on 22 June 2023.

Dr Sowemimo will be participating in a panel discussion on ‘The Future of the NHS’ on 20 June, during the annual Orwell Festival in London.

Learn more about her work on decolonising healthcare in this episode of our WORLD: we got this podcast.

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