"To love is why we exist. Everything else is dust waiting to happen."
Vernal Scott from his non-fiction book, God's Other Children - A London Memoir.
Welcome to the new website of Vernal W. Scott! You can find out about the author, his book, and related news via this webpage. Boasting forewords by Lord Paul Boateng, Sir Nick Partridge and Peter Tatchell, God's Other Children - A London Memoir is available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon, Foyles, WH Smith, Barnes and Noble, Gay's The Word, and Prowler bookstores. Generating rave reviews, be sure to check out the extensive excerpts page for more details.
From Amazon: God's Other Children - A London Memoir by Vernal W. Scott
A most worthy contender for the coveted Polari First Book
Prize, this non-fiction emotional roller coaster is earning consistently high praise from enthused readers. A very different and distinctive reader event by Vernal Scott, a black gay
Londoner and former head of HIV services, his writing is soulful, raw, and unashamedly human. In telling his personal story, he has successfully revealed gay people as holistic rather than just
sexual beings, as has too often been the case to date. But there is much much more here.
Following a profoundly informative prologue, this dramatic true story starts out in happy but poor 1930s Jamaica. Scott’s ‘Windrush’-generation parents move to 1950s London, where the substance of this 520-page biog-come-novel really begins, taking the reader up to the present day. Tragedies and taboo issues are frequent and there are no fictional characters or scenarios, so you find yourself immersed in the emotional authenticity of each page. The mood could be described as dark and disturbing in places (e.g. a graphic and deeply worrying boyhood voodoo protection ritual), but the issues are always starkly human: unrequited love, hate, and loss; sex, sexuality and ‘coming out’; religion and homosexuality; disease, death and dying; domestic violence and borderline child chastisement/abuse; divorce; racism and homophobia; prejudice and equality challenges at home and abroad; gay/lesbian baby-making and parenting; fathers and family court; mental health, depression and suicidal bids. Even voodoo and the paranormal make a surprising (and very convincing!) appearance, as does the likes of HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, among others. 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, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, describes the book as “remarkable, sobering and powerful.”
Most compellingly, Scott relives the truly horrific impact of HIV and AIDS on both gay and heterosexual communities in the 80s and 90s. With 75 million people directly affected around the globe, including 35 million deaths, God’s Other Children captures the essence and relevance of World AIDS Day; walking in Scott's shoes, the reader lives the pain and tears of too many premature goodbyes caused by a terrifying and merciless killer disease. Finding himself at the forefront of the response to the crisis, he recalls the period as “a conveyor belt of death and dying"; acknowledges HIV as a virus of equal opportunity; and sees the pain it causes as human, not gay, straight, black, or white. Setting out the national and international statistics, he further states: “Every day is World AIDS Day; there are real people behind the horrendous numbers.” The various accounts of named affected men, women, and children make tearful, heartbreaking reading, especially when AIDS comes home...
Emotionally scarred by the “AIDS war years”, Scott's subsequent journey into gay fatherhood delivers its own challenges, and compounded by an avalanche of deaths, he begins to play (sexual) Russian roulette with his life. But will his Christian faith be enough to rescue him, especially when he begins to question "blind religion" and "inhumane Bible scripture."
God's Other Children: A London Memoir includes scores of previously unpublished London-shot photos, which add extra vibrancy to an already thumping read, including those of the historic six thousand-person strong Reach Out & Touch UK AIDS Vigil, and liaisons with legendary ladies of song, such as Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Gloria Gaynor.
A truly amazing if tragic debut, the Polari judges and ordinary readers are full of praise, and for good reason; both the book and its author are deserving of the highest possible commendation. Expect to be informed, moved, inspired and (inadvertently) entertained.
Six judges voted to include Vernal Scott's book on the shortlist for the Polari First Book Prize. The announcement was made at the Southbank Centre event in September 2014. Vernal was both shocked and thrilled. Watch the video (above) of his reading at the same event.
"God’s Other Children: A London Memoir is one of the most remarkable, honest, and inspiring autobiographies I've ever read. I commend Vernal W. Scott for offering an unflinching view of his life and his work. It is a gripping read and a valuable document of our times, especially about the advent of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.K. I hope Mr. Scott has the opportunity to present this work in class rooms; our youth need to understand the history that Mr. Scott describes so vividly." - Christian John Wikane, Music Industry Writer.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who's bought my book thus far. Thanks also for your encouragement and comments and reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Despite the initial freebie download riddled with editorial 'issues' - apologies! - I knew that I'd written a non-fiction book worth reading. I am still amazed when I hear from someone who's read it in places as far apart as India, the USA, Australia, and the UK. The experience of writing and publication is akin to planting a seed and watching it sprout and grow with each passing week. The book has had no marketing and I have no idea whether it will ever be known to the masses, but I remain very grateful to those of you who've given it your time and have gone on to recommend it to family and friends. Because of the book, I have received numerous invitations to speak at groups, special events, and places of learning. Other potential opportunities are beginning to happen as well... Yes, from small seeds big things grow. So, from my heart to yours, THANK YOU! Vernal x
Everybody has a story to tell, and God's Other Children - A London Memoir, is Vernal's story but much much more. The book captures the lives of a number of people who are unlikely to have their stories told elsewhere; people who have touched Vernal's life. He has created this webpage to communicate with his readers and potential readers, and to share relevant news. You can follow his work, read his blog and the latest news about him on this webpage, you will also find links where you can read excerpts and buy the ground-breaking book. If you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions about this site, please go ahead and let Vernal know; he will respond directly. He would love to hear from you.
Vernal says: "I am truly knocked out by the warm reception to my book, as seen on Amazon.co.uk and elsewhere. The content, as you may already know, is funny in places, but is mostly concenred with mature issues. It was good to finally dust off and publish my pictures of Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Gloria Gaynor. Those ladies all have two things in common; song and love. Two of them, at least, like our beloved Princess Diana, were also considerable humanitarians.
Yes, my book is much more than just my story; it's our story, and I thank you for your interest in it."
1. Forewords (Lord Paul Boateng, Sir Nick Partridge, and Peter Tatchell)
2. Dedication and Appreciation
4. The Beginning: the Eubanks and the Scotts
5. Hey, What’s My Name?
6. Don’t Mess With My Mum!
7. Dumplings, Chicken and Dog Meat?
8. Love Is a Song
9. Our Palace As A Refuge
10. Mum Goes Missing
11. Young Boy, You’re Too Girlie-Girlie!
12. Bingo! Spend, Spend, Spend!!!
13. Sleeping with Strangers
14. My First Love?
15. Hey, Batty Man!
16. The Disco Kid Will Survive
17. Divorce: Doreth vs Skippy
18. Obeah Spells and Evil Hands
19. Ghosts and Demons
20. Homophobia – Choosing Suicide
21. I Am What I Am… and It’s Raining Men!
22. No Blacks Here!
23. ‘Born Again’ - Thanks to Exegesis!
24. Love To Love You, Mr Shakespeare!
25. The People’s Group
26. HIV/AIDS – my purpose!
27. I’m Coming Out!
29. Knocking on Doors
30. Police! Under Homophobic Attack
31. The Brent HIV Centre
32. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother!
33. That’s What Friends Are For
34. News of the World: ‘Sex on the Rates!’
35. California Dreaming
36. Reach Out and Touch with Flowers and Sister Whitney
37. Saying Goodbye to Marvin
38. Heartmenders - Princess Diana and Dionne Warwick
39. Brother Bunny Loses His Fight
40. Dedication to Brother Bunny
41. Closing the Brent HIV Centre
42. Facing the Facts: My HIV Test
43. I Want To Be a Daddy
44. Losing Mum
45. Who’s the Daddy?
46. Losing Brother Leo
47. Black, Bald, Beautiful, and Traumatized
48. Greet, Grope, Goodbye
49. High Court Showdown - A Fight For Justice
50. Happy 50th’ - from Gloria and Dad!
51. Goodbye Sister Whitney, Hello Kids!
52. Cancer Scare!
53. I’ve Got Work to Do
54. Ah Men: The Bible and Homosexuality
55. Words of Love and Light
56. Contact the author Vernal W. Scott
57. The Gay Man’s All-time Disco Classics. Get Down!