Kevin Maxwell, who graduated from Regent's with an MA Writing for Stage and Screen in 2015, has been awarded an MBE for services to diversity through literature following his best-selling book Forced Out.
Kevin’s memoir Forced Out, details his experience of racism and homophobia when he served as a detective in both the Greater Manchester and London’s Metropolitan Police forces. Regent’s alumnus, Kevin Maxwell MBE, described the honour from Her Majesty the Queen as: 'An acknowledgement by the state of the struggles faced by Black people in the UK.’ He continued: ‘With the racism following the England football team’s defeat at the Euro 2020 finals, stories like mine are needed now more than ever.’
While studying at Regent’s, Kevin wrote articles for both The Regent’s newspaper and Inner Circle magazine. In his graduating year, Kevin was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
On his decision to study at Regent’s, he shares: ‘After leaving the police force following a decade of service, I was unsure what to do with my life going forward. Policing is all I had known. I was sitting on the tube and saw an advert by Regent’s in the London Evening Standard about a course in Writing for Screen & Stage. It caught my attention. I applied for it and after an interview with the Head of School, I was successful.’
He continues: ‘I wasn't sure I could write. I'd written many emails before but hadn't studied the craft of writing in any discipline. I was eager to give it a go. It was whilst on the course that one of my tutors, John Foster, told my cohort that during our studies we should write each day - it didn't matter what sort of writing we did, as long as we wrote.’
Kevin now writes and advocates for social justice and equality and has written for newspapers including the Independent, the Guardian, and has appeared on television and radio for the BBC and Sky News.
Alongside Kevin’s recent MBE Award, Forced Out has been longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021, a prize dedicated to LGBTQ+ writers. Kevin is working on a second book about homelessness and housing, looking at how people rebuild their lives after loss. His ambition is to develop into screenplays, which was a key motivation for his decision to study at Regent’s.
Forced Out is available for purchase here.
About the MBE Award
An MBE is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award (excluding a knighthood/damehood), behind CBE and then OBE. MBE stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire. Twice a year the Queen hands out special honours to recognise outstanding achievements and service to the country or community. They are handed out in the New Year Honours List and The Queen's Birthday Honours List. Those selected for the honour are invited to an investiture, a special ceremony in which an honour is given by a member of the Royal Family.
Photo credit: Micha Theiner