‘This Hostel Life’ by Melatu Uche Okorie

This title piece from a three-story collection is by former asylum seeker Melatu Uche Okorie, originally from Nigeria but now living in Ireland where she is doing a PhD in creative writing. It tells of the experience of the controversial direct provision system with a clear voice and gift for voicing her characters. Irish writing is still very much lacking in diversity and this collection offers a perspective on Ireland and Irish people we have not seen in fiction before.

In my last hostel dey give you provision any day, but it’s gonna be one month since you collect last. So if you get toilet paper today, it’s gonna be one month before you get another. Dat is why me I happy when dey give me every week for here, now, me I don feel happy again. Dis direct provision business is all the same, you see, because even if you collect provision for every week or you collect for every month, it is still somebody dat is give you the provision. Nothing is better than when you decide something for yourself.

First published in This Hostel Life by Skein Press, 2018. Also available from Virago, 2019

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