We are delighted to announce that Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011. The news comes as the Guardian announce that Pigeon English is on the longlist for the Guardian First Book Award.
One of the biggest prizes in the literary calendar, the Man Booker has been running since 1968, and this is not the first time that a Conville & Walsh author has been nominated. DBC Pierre, won the prize in 2003 with Vernon God Little. Since then, another of our authors, Sarah Hall, has been shortlisted for The Electric Michaelangelo, and recently longlisted for How to Paint a Dead Man.
Pigeon English follows eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku, who has just moved from Ghana to live in a 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 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 inner-city 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.
06 Sep 2011