Follow all of Oliver Marshall’s wonderful stories at The World Elsewhere.
I’m interested in migration, minorities and borders – how these developed and how they’re sustained. I love travelling and am always excited when I find a Bosnian neighbourhood in St Louis, Missouri, Ukrainian churches in rural Brazil, a Bhutanese shop in Paris or a Maltese café near my home in London.
Maps inspire my daydreams. My eyes tend to drift towards imperial relics such as the likes of Melilla (a Spanish enclave in northeastern Morocco), Daman and Diu (former trading posts in what was once a remote corner of Portuguese India) and Tristan da Cunha (one of Britain’s last – and certainly most remote – overseas territories, its 21st century term for “colony”) and geo-political oddities like the charming-sounding (but probably deadly-dull) Most Serene Republic of San Marino and the (not-so serene) self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria. Maybe one day I’ll make it to these places….if so I’ll write something….
I live in London and have worked there with oral history projects and at a community advice centre in North Kensington and Notting Hill, an area of west London long associated with West Indian, Spanish and Moroccan communities. I’m a volunteer with the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group and over the past few years have been told of struggles to remain in Britain of countless people faced with deportation to Eritrea, Congo, Liberia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I’ve written guide books (I was a long-time author of the Rough Guide to Brazil) and travel articles on various parts of the world as well as books on immigrants and refugees – you might want to take a look English, Irish and Irish-American Pioneer Settlers in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (hardly a catchy title, but at least you get a sense of what the book’s about!) and also (with Darién J. Davis) Stefan and Lotte Zweig in South America.
Feel free to email Oliver Marshall.