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God's Other Children - A London Memoir Paperback – 22 Jul 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (22 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482741172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482741179
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

**God's Other Children: A London Memoir has been shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize**

Video: This is why readers (and the six Polari judges!) are so very impressed: http://bit.ly/XmuLCs

Vernal Scott writes from his soul to yours, the reader. In addition to his pioneering role as head of HIV/AIDS services in London during the the 80s and 90s, he is also a gay father, diversity professional, fathers' access advocate, and media commentator, regularly appearing on Sky Channel 519 - Arise News. Due to God's Other Children - A London Memoir, his ground-breaking non-fiction book, Vernal has been invited to speak at a wide range of venues, including the London School of Economics, King's College London, Polari Salon (Southbank), Brighton Pride Literary Festival, St Anne's Church Soho, and Queer Nation, the popular night club. His Facebook page, You Tube channel, and Twitter activity reflect the growing interest in Vernal and his book, and it's the same on Linked In.

As stated in the many enthusiastic reader comments on Amazon UK and elsewhere,Vernal's first book is a very different, inadvertently entertaining reader event. It successfully demonstrates the human consistencies and similarities between gay and heterosexual people, as well as capturing the essence and relevance to millions around the globe of World AIDS Day, and the associated pain, stigma, and tears of too many premature goodbyes. In their respective forewords, Lord Paul Boateng says the book has "a searing honesty", and Peter Tatchell, the renowned human rights activist, refers to it as "painful and shocking in its exposure of raw prejudice." Sir Nick Partridge, former CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, describes the book as "remarkable, sobering and powerful."

Over 500 pages and 57 reader-friendly chapters, the book starts out in happy but poor 1930s Jamaica. The author's 'Windrush'-generation parents move to 1950s London, and that's where the substance of his non-fiction story really begins, taking the reader up to the present day. While occasionally funny, the overall mood is acutely serious, mature, and even 'dark' in nature, dealing with: love and loss; sex, sexuality and 'coming out'; religion and homosexuality; domestic violence and borderline child chastisement/abuse; disease, death and dying; divorce; racism and homophobia; equality challenges at home and abroad; gay/lesbian baby-making and parenting; fathers and family court; and teen depression. Even voodoo and the paranormal make a spooky yet convincing appearance. And although written like a novel, with engaging themes and many rarely aired issues, the book has no fictional characters or scenarios, thus making for a more compelling non-fiction read.

Tragically and most powerfully, the book captures, up close, the truly horrific impact of AIDS on both heterosexual and gay communities in the 80s and 90s, and the role in the crisis of the author and notables, such as Princess Diana. Finding himself at the forefront of the then challenge, the author describes the period as "a conveyor belt of death and dying." Scott portrays HIV as a virus of equal opportunity, and the pain it causes as human: not gay, straight, black, or white. He sets out the national and international statistics - 75 million affected globally - and further states: "Every day is World AIDS Day. There are real people behind the horrendous numbers." The book's various accounts of the affected men, women, and children make tearful, heartbreaking reading... especially when AIDS comes home.

The youngest of five children, Vernal's father left when he was just a boy, leaving him in an eternal search for an affectionate replacement, mostly in the wrong places and faces. The reader lives the anxiety, as, in his critical teenage years, the author cries for help in a failed suicide bid, which leaves a permanent reminder. He blames the episode on homophobia and fear of repercussions from his family and the wider black community. A short spell with a banned 'cult' strengthens him and becomes something of a rebirth for Vernal: from victim to victor!

Scott later persuades a then vibrantly happy Whitney Houston to support his historic London event, the six-thousand-person strong, Reach Out and Touch UK AIDS Vigil, which the singer attends with her 'friend', Robyn Crawford.

Having survived the "AIDS war years", and in an unkind twist, Vernal's long held wish to become a father came true when he embraced his beautiful daughter on the day of her birth, but happiness is short-lived when he finds himself at the Royal Courts of Justice in a bitter and expensive legal battle to regain access to the two children in his life. His opponents are an equally determined lesbian couple. Compounded by the death of his mother, a depressed Vernal begins to play (sexual) Russian roulette with his life, and it would take more than his faith to rescue him, especially as he begins to question "blind religion" and "inhumane Bible scripture."

The book includes scores of previously unpublished London-shot photos, which add extra vibrancy, including those depicting remarkable liaisons with legendary divas such as Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Gloria Gaynor.

Readers can expect to be informed, moved, angered, and inspired.

Product Description

About the Author

Vernal Scott, Author and Diversity Consultant. Born in 1960's London to Jamaican parents, Vernal Scott is an 'out' activist and gay dad. In the 80s he initiated the then popular Peoples Group at the London Lesbian and Gay Centre. He later set up the Black Communities AIDS Team (BCAT), a support network for black people affeced by HIV and AIDS. In 1987 he was appointed Head of HIV services for the London Borough of Brent, serving one of London’s ethnic majority communities. In the early 90s he organised the highly successful Reach Out and Touch HIV/AIDS Procession with Flowers featuring stars such as Whitney Houston. A year later he invited Dionne Warwick to open his project, the Brent HIV Centre. In 2003 he joined another London borough as their Head of Equality and Diversity and more recently became a freelance consultant and coach, working with a wide range of companies including People Keys, and Marshall ACM. He has authored articles on subjects such as bullying and harassment and customer services. More recently, Vernal facilitated an all-day multi-disciplinary workshop, co-hosted by West Midlands Police Service, which looked at achieving equality outcomes in a context of efficiency savings. He views the Equality Act as an opportunity to renew efforts in removing discrimination of any kind from the lives of the men, women and children affected by it. November 2010 saw Vernal joined a leading official of the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a keynote speaker at the National Conference on Hate Crime. 2012 and 2013 saw Vernal actively supporting the Peter Tatchell Foundation and the London AIDS Memorial Campaign. He's also a 'McKenzie Friend' in family court and regular TV media commentator.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Ore on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book from cover to cover (kindle) in one sitting as I wanted to know what happened next. Some parts of Vernal's journey bought me to tears and other parts resonated with me. A powerful and truthful account providing insight on parenting, sexual orientation, sexual health domestic violence - the healing & destructive nature of relationships, with a history lesson and celebrates thrown in. Great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ball on 31 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Although this book was written from the perspective of just one exceptional man, if you are black, gay, grew up in London and are of an age to remember when music actually WAS music - then this book is for you! Vernal's story is surely unique, but contains so many elements that we can all relate to. The joys (and agonies) of discovering your sexuality, the struggles of dealing with a society that is afraid to talk about race, sexuality, and love at a time when it literally could mean the difference between life and death. However, what I loved most about the book were all the triumphs! Vernal's determiniation to do what was right and not be afraid to call on whoever would answer the phone for help (and you'll be surprised just who did). As you enjoy his words, you might also just find yourself creating your very own deeply personal "soundtrack" - I know I did!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Nathan Joseph Kerr on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
After reading 'God's Other Children', I feel like I have walked a lifetime in Vernal Scott's shoes, literally followed every single footstep. His story is inspirational. It has touched me, just like he has touched so many. I feel like he has let me into his life, nothing has been hidden. I've felt his emotions through his powerful and moving story - I've cried, I've laughed and I've felt like I was there myself, and that is a credit to his superb and beautiful writing style, as well as his truly amazing story. If I can achieve in my life just half as much as he has, I will be extremely satisfied with my successes!! Vernal Scott is one of a kind, a true inspiration, and I feel privileged and honoured to be a part of his magnificent life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Sell on 9 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
Everything I have to say about this book has to be considered in the knowledge that words are inadequate to fully describe the impact that this story is capable of having.
I am a gay man who is slightly older than Vernal and I have to confess that I ran away from HIV and AIDS because I lived in a relatively small East Midlands City and I was able to avoid the worst of the terrible havoc and heartbreak this horrible virus caused. I had the capacity to run away and I did. Vernal was at the UK heart of the crisis and for him and many others it was a case of sink or swim. Vernal, like many other people affected by HIV, suffered multiple losses and had to battle day after day against seemingly overwhelming odds. The pain, desperation, discrimination, stigma, and religious hypocrisy and intolerance that swirled around all those battling against HIV and AIDS was compounded by the betrayal and denial of homophobic governments who saw gay people as being merely expendable.
Vernal's vibrant personality, deep integrity and unflinching honesty contribute hugely to the value of this book. From out of a painful upbringing where he had to deal with the bullying of his brothers, the inconsistencies of his parents, and the deeply homophobic nature of his cultural background, emerges a beautiful, warm-hearted and sensitive man.
I am ashamed that I ran away from the issue at the time, leaving brave people like Vernal to carry the burden and I never endured the excruciating pain of multiple losses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Egbers-Kane on 18 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Vernal is a natural leader, he is not afraid to take the initiative, he puts us to shame with how easily he makes a difference. Vernal is almost saint-like in his commitment to overcoming prejudice & ignorance in his own community. He is an extremely rare case of someone who has true courage & daring in the face of collective denial & wall of silence. Vernal puts straight men to shame, with his courage, bravery, guts & having the balls to speak out against collective ignorance & heads buried in the sand. Vernal has had more than his fair share of abuse, victimization, bullying, persecution, slander & defamation. But he has bounced back big time & got the last laugh on his persecutors, with his high profile, respect & status worldwide. One strong thread throughout Gods Other Children is forgiveness & reconciliation, just as Luther King & Mandela taught us. Vernal did not forget, but he forgave his tormentors, to the point of becoming a tower of strength & support to those who persecuted him years prior. Another thread in GOC is Karma; justice; reaping what we sow; what goes around comes around & life's naturally-occurring ironies & coincidences. But the most inspiring & empowering theme throughout GOC is the ability to rise above & transcend past traumas, abuse, oppression, & to grow wings & fly high above the control-freakery, dysfunctionality, pain & misery. Vernal's testimony is unique & inspiring because he overcame two sources of oppression (racism & homophobia) & still put most of us to shame in terms of what the average Joe Bloggs is prepared to suffer & sacrifice & commit to making the world a better place. Scott puts the average Christian to shame, as his biography shows, being a Christian is about actions, not words.Read more ›
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