About this book
"Pigeon English is a triumph." -- Emma Donoghue, author of Room
Shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize and the 2011 Guardian First Book Award
Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on an inner-city housing estate in London, England. The second-best runner in his grade, Harri races through his new life in his personalized trainers -- the Adidas stripes drawn on with black marker -- blissfully unaware of the very real threat around him.
With equal fascination for the local gang -- the Dell Farm Crew --and the pigeon who visits his balcony, Harri absorbs the many strange elements that surround him: watching, listening, and learning the tricks of inner-city survival. But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own, unwittingly endangering the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to keep them safe.
A deeply funny, moving, and unforgettable story of innocence and experience, hope and harsh reality, Pigeon English is a spellbinding portrayal of a boy balancing on the edge of manhood and of the forces around him that try to shape the way he falls.
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; he is currently working on his second. He lives in Bedfordshire, England.
Awards and Praise
- Short-listed Guardian First Book Award, 2011
- Short-listed Desmond Elliott Prize, 2011
- Long-listed IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2013
- Short-listed Man Booker Prize for Fiction, 2011
- Commended Toronto Star Reviewers' Top 100 Books, 2011