When We Speak of Nothing by Olumide Popoola


It's 2001 and racial tensiIt’s 2011 and racial tensions are set to explode across London. Best mates Karl and Abu are both 17, dealing with infatuations with classmates and avoiding the local ‘wannabe’ thugs that target Karl for being different


When Karl finds out his estranged father lives in Nigeria, he escapes the sound and fury of London for Port Harcourt to meet him. Rejected on arrival, he befriends a local activist who wants to expose the ecocide in the Niger Delta. Meanwhile, the murder of Mark Duggan triggers a full-scale riot in London. Abu finds himself caught up in its midst, leading to a tragedy that forces Karl to race back home.


When We Speak of Nothing launches a powerful new talent, with its stream of consciousness prose, peppered with contemporary slang. If grime music were a novel, it would be this.


“... a linguistically inventive and deliciously original debut novel.” – The Guardian, Best Books of 2017

“When We Speak of Nothing is layered, absorbing storytelling.” – The Stylist


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