BHSN member, Gabriel Dedji, Publishes His Own Book, Aged 17
I am Gabriel Dedji and I am a past head boy for St. Michael’s Catholic Grammar School. I am also the Enfield Youth Cabinet representative for community safety and cohesion, working closely with the council to make sure that they have a youth perspective in matters that affect young people the most.
On 30th October 2019, I became the fully published author of ‘The Escape: A Tale of Change and Revolution’. My novel centres around a young delinquent named Remel Brathwaite and his journey of escape from his troubled life through the guidance of a masked, mystical and musical stranger named King Keys, The Perpetually Pensive Poet.
Whilst writing my book, I had kept it a secret because I felt that it would provide distraction if I allowed other people to know what it was about. In addition, I also felt that it would be a fantastic surprise if I only told my friends once it was released. Thus, I kept my book a secret for almost a year and a half, as I went through Sixth Form.
Telling my friends and close ones the news eventually, they were all filled with absolute elation as I had hoped: I had been introduced to the joy of being an author. Yet, it was on the 31st December that I was able to experience this joy in greater depth. ‘The Escape’ had spread like wildfire due to an interview I had done with a journalist named Abbianca Makoni from Press association. Pairing the interview (available on her YouTube channel) with a written article, the story had been picked up within a couple of hours by over 30 news sources! We had spoken about the novel’s themes of mentorship, youth crime and extra-curricular activities which fortunately allowed me another interview with ITV news at the beginning of this year, concerning these key topics. Soon after I was also on BBC Radio London in an interview with Claira Hermet, talking on a grander level about my author journey. Both of these interviews are available on my Instagram (@gabrieldedji) and will soon be available on YouTube. You can also visit my website (gabrieldedji.ampbk.com) for more content.
To conclude, all I can say is that the journey I am currently on has really been a joy. On one hand, the most exciting part has been seeing all my friends and family, supporting, reading and, quite importantly, enjoying the novel. Yet, I feel that the key part of the journey has been the platform that the novel has given me to push others to do more in their lives, use their gifts and talents and to follow positive examples. It is this idea that has shaped all of my interviews and I hope that it is an idea that people will understand more and more as time goes on.