Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

Pigeon English

Written by Stephen Kelman

13+ readers   eBooks   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of the most urgent and important books of the year, Pigeon English is full of tragedy and despair but also shot through with a fragile but unwavering strand of hope.

Harri Opoku is newly arrived on the run down London estate that will be his home. There’s much to learn; how to fit in, who to trust, what to fight for. Hari does all he can to keep a low profile and to run with the pack enough not to get caught out alone. But, when his friend is murdered, Harri’s unswerving determination to find out the truth makes him vulnerable. Very vulnerable.

Stephen Kelman pulls no punches in this frightening realistic portrait of growing up today.


Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011 Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2011

Eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku, the second best runner in Year 7, races through his new life in England with his personalised trainers - the Adidas stripes drawn on with marker pen - blissfully unaware of the very real threat around him. Newly-arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister Lydia, Harri absorbs the many strange elements of city life, from the bewildering array of Haribo sweets, to the frightening, fascinating gang of older boys from his school. But his life is changed forever when one of his friends is murdered. As the victim's nearly new football boots hang in tribute on railings behind fluorescent tape and a police appeal draws only silence, Harri decides to act, unwittingly endangering the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to keep them safe.


'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

'Stephen Kelman's [first novel] has a powerful story, a pacy plot and engaging characters. It paints a vivid portrait with honesty, sympathy and wit, of a much neglected milieu, and it addresses urgent social questions. It is horrifying, tender and funny ... Brilliant' Daily Telegraph

'The humour, the resilience, the sheer ebullience of its narrator - a hero for our times - should ensure the book becomes, deservedly, a classic' Daily Mail

About the Author

Stephen Kelman

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.

Author photo © Jonathan Ring

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


272 pages


Stephen Kelman
More books by Stephen Kelman


Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

5th January 2012




Love “Lovereading4kids” as my son gets to hear about & read new books before his mates which keeps him interested in reading=a very happy Mum

Liz Evans

I love Lovereading because I often never know what to read and this helps you find a good book. I have recommended this to many people.

Shannon-Louise Masters – age 15

It’s so easy to find the right book for your child. Such an easy-to-use, yet in-depth website. 100% reliable.

Pippa, Jack, Liam & Matthew Wils

It is fantastic, you get to read lots of books and you always find something new and amazing in them.

Erica Motoc, age 7

It gives me a chance to read types of books that I would not normally try, and it motivates me to read every night to finish it!

Alice Horncastle, age 14

I love all the books they recommend & put up for me to review. I also love the fact that they give new authors the chance to share their boo

Daisy Pennock – age 15

I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

I love finding new books to read. My mummy and me look at the new ones coming out. I have written reviews of some of them!

Jessica Cobbin – age 7

Lovereading 4 schools