Malik Al Nasir

Malik Al Nasir is an author, poet and academic from Liverpool.

From the age of 9 to 18 Malik grew up in care. By 18 he says he was left traumatised, semi-literate, homeless and destitute, many years later going on to successfully sue Liverpool City Council for neglect, racism and physical abuse.

A turning point came with a chance meeting with poet and activist Gil Scott-Heron at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre in 1984. Scott-Heron became a mentor, inviting Malik to tour with him and encouraging him to return to education and to use poetry as the vehicle to become literate.

Malik got a job at sea working on ferries and tankers, all while teaching himself to read and write, sending Gil poems at each port he would stop at.

In 1990, he joined Littlewoods, a retail chain and football pools company founded by Sir John Moores, whom our university is named after, on their pioneering positive-action management training scheme which enabled him to go to college one day a week and then eventually on to study at university.

“I am living proof that positive interventions can lead to positive outcomes.”

– Malik Al Nasir

Malik went on to study at, and graduate from, all three Liverpool universities, completing his master’s in new media production at LJMU’s Liverpool Screen School.

He is now an acclaimed researcher and author. His memoir, Letters To Gil, documented his childhood experiences and then in tracing his ancestry back to Demerara, Malik has established himself as a renowned researcher into Britain’s role in the slave trade.

Malik used his research to deliver the final Roscoe Lecture of LJMU’s Bicentenary year, addressing a rapt audience at St George’s Hall with his presentation, The truth that lies behind Roscoe. This challenging lecture explored the history of the abolitionist William Roscoe – after whom the LJMU series is named - and his financiers who were slave traders.

Malik works closely with UK universities and other organisations to develop policy around widening access and decolonisation and has made representations to the UN on lifting the barriers to Black academia.

He is currently reading for a PhD in history at the University of Cambridge on a full Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) scholarship.

“I could have become trapped in the residue of that post-colonialist system at various stages of my life and lost to mainstream society, or stifled by the care system, pipelined to a lifetime of useless incarceration, yet here I am, now working with policymakers, publishing books, and studying at the University of Cambridge. I am living proof that positive interventions can lead to positive outcomes.”