In Limbo: Brexit testimonies from EU citizens in the UK is a collection of personal accounts by EU citizens living in Britain that reveals the practical and emotional turmoil they have experienced since the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Organised by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis, this anthology is a snapshot of this historical period that aims to add real-life relevance and urgency to the national debate. It comes with a foreword by acclaimed British Hungarian poet George Szirtes, and its cover was designed by graphic artist Gareth Harrey.
The collection gives a voice to a sample of the three million UK residents who have been often treated in the political discourse as a depersonalised mass of ‘migrants’ – a term used in a derogatory way by the tabloid press that is also incorrect, as European directives on free movement refer to all EU nationals, British people included, as citizens: all equal and benefiting from the same rights. In contrast, this anthology reveals them as individuals, whose lives have been interrupted, plunged into limbo, by political events few had anticipated. It portrays them as citizens at home in the European Union, until the rules suddenly changed. In addition, a complementary perspective of British nationals who have settled in other parts of the EU is briefly represented at the end of the collection.
This collection is aimed at everybody who is interested in or needs to gain an insight into the true experiences of EU citizens in the UK: members of the public, British family members of EU citizens, journalists and decision-makers in both British and European politics. Its expressed goals are to inform but also help fight against discrimination and prejudice by touching hearts and opening minds.
The book was published on Amazon International, thanks to a successful crowd funding campaign. It has already been sent to many influential politicians in the UK and the EU.
The In Limbo Project originated when Elena Remigi, an Italian interpreter resident in Britain, felt that the numerous EU voices expressing their distress since the Brexit Referendum would have a much more powerful impact if they were gathered together as a collective testimony. She had also realised by then that most people (even politicians) had little understanding of the discrimination and uncertainty Europeans in the UK were facing as a result of the Brexit vote. She decided this collection of testimonies needed to be made available to as wide a readership as possible, including both decision-makers and members of the public alike.
She started a Facebook group in March 2017, called Our Brexit Testimonies, with the help of Tim Sykes, a British editor, and Véronique Martin, a French author and academic married to a Brit and a UK resident for thirty years. They were helped in their work by a team of dedicated moderators.
In less than a month, the group had grown to over 1000 members. Its atmosphere was carefully nurtured to create a safe and supportive environment as many had difficult and painful stories to share. The candid testimonies that were gathered between March and April 2017 show the many ways in which real lives have been affected by the outcome of the Referendum. They illustrate the practical difficulties and the profound emotional stress that has been imposed on many people by this new political situation.
All the testimonies were shared with the full consent of their writers. Several preferred to sign with their initials or remain anonymous because of concerns about possible discrimination. Others will never appear in the book, as their writers felt they had too much to lose and were fearful of repercussions.
Against the odds, the book was created in less than two months as an intensive labour of love and dedication. Its editors endeavoured to include as many voices as possible but those who couldn’t be included were published in the group’s associated blog.
- Book: “In Limbo” on Amazon UK (also available internationally):
- Blog: Our Brexit blog
- Facebook: Our Brexit Testimonies
- Twitter: @InLimboBrexit
- YouTube: short book trailer
- YouTube: long book trailer
- Instagram: @inlimbobrexit
- “EU CITIZENS HERE: STUCK IN A PAINFUL LIMBO” guest article by Elena Remigi and Véronique Martin, 13th September 2017
- “EU Citizens In Limbo” by Maike Bohn, 23rd June 2017,
- “Where is home? A philosophical reflection on home, immigration, and Brexit.” by Helen De Cruz, 28 July 2017
- “In Limbo: Brexit & EU Citizens in UK” Peter Cook interviews Elena Remigi, 31st July 2017
Independent reviews of the book:
- “Over 100 stories of EU citizens in limbo now in a book” by Claudia Delpero, 17th June 2017
- Review of “In Limbo” book on “Conversation with Europe” blog, 18th July 2017
- “One of the most important books of the year – one which severely tests the supposed British traits of stoicism and calm.” Charlie Connelly in the New European, 21st October 2017.
- “‘I felt suicidal’: EU nationals express anguish a year after Brexit vote” by May Bulman writing in “The Independent” newspaper, 23rd July 2017