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Djamel White, from Lucan, Dublin, is a writer, tutor, and youth activist who spent much of his youth struggling to stay interested in school. At the age of seventeen, he dropped out of his final year of school. Later, to make it into university, he attended a program designed for early school-leavers, a course that took two years. Two months into university he dropped out because he realized that he had no passion for what he was studying. He decided to pursue his true passion: creative writing.

While he was interested in writing from an early age, it was in his late teens that he realized the power it gave him to tell his story and amplify other stories of local youth. Upon turning eighteen, he started to volunteer with Fighting Words, an organization that offers writing workshops to children and teenagers. It was the first place he had ever put all his efforts into and it has given him genuine fulfillment. He thanks Fighting Words for giving him the space and time to develop his interpersonal skills in a creative, caring, and happy environment.

The confidence and experience gained from White's three years in Fighting Words has allowed him to bring his tutoring of creative writing to a school in Madrid and to a summer camp in upstate New York. More recently, he has been working as a social program leader in one of Dublin's leading Language Schools, and is now set on moving forward as a teacher of the English language. He is also taking another shot at college, studying English with a focus in Creative Writing at University College Dublin.



by Djamel White

We keep catching mice but we can’t seem to catch all of them. And that makes me think that maybe they’re coming in from the neighbour’s house because that garden is filthy. And I haven’t been next door since I was a child, but I remember the inside being filthy too. So, they’re probably coming from there. My mother has a phobia, genuinely; if she saw one, she’d be out on the street. We stayed in a hotel once over mice. She’s been lying awake every night listening for them.

And I got punched in the nose the other night. Not hard enough to make it bleed but hard enough for me to go home and cry about how ashamed I am at not being able to defend myself. There’s a mouse trap at the end of my bed and I don’t like the idea of being woken up to a snap and having to try and go back to sleep knowing that there’s something dead or dying in the room. If they die in the walls I wonder if they leave a smell.

He asked me for a cigarette and I said no and then he said he wasn’t asking and then I still said no and he hit me. So, I came home and my mother was relieved that she didn’t have to sleep alone with the mouse or mice. I didn’t tell her about being punched and I usually would, but at this point I am exhausted. We need to find a way to stop the mice from coming in but it’s colder than normal outside so we fear they won’t stop. If it is the neighbour’s fault then that cannot be addressed without an argument, so we will board up any entry points we may find. Keep traps in the hot press.

At least it’s not rats, I say. Nobody wants rats, poor rats. Natalie next door is kind of filthy looking. No doubt the woman showers, it’s maybe perhaps something under her skin. It’s her features. She has dirty features. We are not like them. We are not the mice having kind, we are not the punched on the street over cigarettes kind.