Londen wordt al snel geassocieerd met de eeuwige stereotypen, zoals The Queen, Big Ben en de zwarte taxi's. De schrijver Stephen Kelman kijkt door zijn achtergrond geheel anders tegen de stad aan. Ter introductie van de vierde aflevering van Nieuwkomers vroegen we aan Stephen Kelman om een klein portret van zijn Londen te schetsen.
Pigeon English takes place in a London that doesn't appear in any tourist guides: a city of squalor and violence, a deprived pocket of the capital that's a million miles away from the image of stylish glamour or leafy affluence that our leaders like to project. The London I know is a place where dreams of the good life more often than not get swallowed up by harsh realities. Survival is the daily game and its rules can be strict, even for children like Harri, my book's narrator.
But it is also a place of colour, and of hope. For every riot there is a rebuilding: the citizens of my London are defiant in the face of their trials and the collective spirit is one of dignified endurance. My London is vibrant, and diverse. My London is home to dreamers from every nation, as exemplified by Harri, a boy who throws his arms around the world. His London is not a ticking bomb, it is a heart that beats on, and its lifeblood is its people.