First there was a book…

First there was a book…

Journey Home (O Books) came out of my anger about homelessness and the way we treat asylum seekers in this country. But, as always, in the writing, my original concept expanded to include stuff that was a lot more personal. Such as the fact that I have refugees on both sides of my family. Way back, in the seventeenth century, when my father’s Huguenot family had to flee France, and more recently, as my mother, aged five, left Russia after the revolution.

And the book seems to have several lives. First of all I did several gigs with a folk singer who sang on the subject of home. Then I woke up one morning thinking: this might make a boardgame! And, using the themes from the book of shelter, family, community, environment and inner peace, within a couple of years the discussion-based Journey Home boardgame was born. Creating it, brainstorming, finding a great designer, getting it off the ground – that was a lot of fun. Ongoing marketing is, of course, quite hard graft. I had hoped there was a game producer who, like a publisher, would take it off my hands!

But we have agreed with THE BIG ISSUE FOUNDATION™ that they should take 50% of the profits, and a new, improved version with the BI logo, was re-launched at the museum of home, the Geffrye Museum, in January 2014, and on Homelessness Sunday I talked about it on BBC London radio. Every game carries a postcard advertising the book; each book has an ad for the game in the back pages. Any event I do for one gets mentions and opportunities for sales of the other.

And then a friend said, “How about Journey Home ballet?” Well, there’s a thought. My daughter, a composer, has agreed to write the music. You never know…