Nominated by:

Newcastle City Library, England

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bloomsbury Publishing, UK

Pigeon English

Stephen Kelman      

2013 Longlist

Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on a London housing estate. The (second) best runner in the whole of Year 7, Harri races through his new life in his personalised trainers – the Adidas stripes drawn on in marker pen – unaware of the danger growing around him.

But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own. In doing so, he unwittingly breaks the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to keep them safe.

Harri will come face to face with the very real dangers surrounding him. A powerful, unforgettable tale, importantly relevant for readers of today.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Stephen Kelman was born in Luton in 1976. After finishing his degree he worked variously as a warehouse operative, a careworker, and in marketing and local government administration. He decided to pursue his writing seriously in 2005, and has completed several feature screenplays since then. Pigeon English is his first novel.

Librarian’s Comments

This shortlisted debut novel was voted the ‘winner’ within our reading groups and ‘Toon Booker’ event which celebrated and highlighted the Man Booker Prize. This book was chosen as the character Harrison Opoku is a fantastic narrator full of exuberance and enthusiasm. The novel is also very descriptive and realistic which indicates the author’s personal experiences.

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