Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (9781408810637) | Page & Blackmore Booksellers

By: Page & Blackmore  06-Dec-2011


Pigeon English is written in the voice of a young Ghanaian boy living with his mother and sister in the ‘safety’ of a London tower block while they wait for his father to arrive from Ghana. The writing captures the concerns and emotions of a eleven-year-old living in a foreign environment in a way that could trick you into thinking that the narrative were simple – it isn’t. This powerful novel is transparently based on the real-life story of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor. - Tim


Stephen Kelman writes from the heart, drawing on the environment of his own childhood.

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. 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 with marker pen - blissfully unaware of the very real threat all 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 of his new life in England: watching, listening, and learning the tricks of urban survival. 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 endangers the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to try and keep them safe.

A 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.


Shortlisted for Desmond Elliott Prize 2011 and

Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011


'Simultaneously accurate and fantastical, this boy's love letter to the world made me laugh and tremble all the way through. Pigeon English is a triumph' Emma Donoghue, author of Room

'A powerful and impressive novel .. Kelman knows the world of boys - their language, their humour, their thoughts - and Harri's voice is dazzlingly authentic. Utterly convincing and deeply moving, this is a book that we should all read' Clare Morrall, author of The Man Who Disappeared


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.


  • ISBN : 9781408810637
  • PUBLISHER : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • IMPRINT : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • PUBLICATION DATE : March 2011
  • DIMENSIONS : 234mm X 153mm
  • PRODUCED IN : United Kingdom
  • AVAILABILITY DATE : April 2011
  • PRODUCT TYPE : books
  • ILLUSTRATIONS : illustrations
  • PAGES : 288
  • BIND : Paperback
  • AUTHOR : Stephen Kelman

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