31 January 2012
Cardiff BookTalk is a new and exciting book group organised by the University’s Community Engagement Team that brings together people who love to read and discuss books. BookTalkers, as they’re known, meet every two months and read the very best classic and contemporary literature, discussing the big ideas behind great books.
As part of the meetings Cardiff academics who are specialists in their field share their own thoughts and research related to the themes of the chosen book, introducing BookTalkers to a new way of looking at novels.
In between meetings, BookTalk’s online forum allows members to continue the discussion and to suggest titles for future BookTalk reads.
Blas caught up with James Vilares from the Community Engagement Team to find out more about BookTalk. Here James introduces Pigeon English, the group’s next book and gives details of how you can get involved.
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
“I picked this book up after I heard the author speak at the Hay Festival last year. Reportedly, Pigeon English was signed up for a high six-figure sum, and that, along with a short extract from the book read by the author, aroused my curiosity.
“Part coming-of-age tale, part detective story, Pigeon English tracks Harrison Opoku as he comes to terms with British society after his move from his native Ghana. With a unique voice, Harri mixes British and Ghanaian slang as he describes acclimatising to life on a high-rise council estate in London. He is constantly ‘vexed’ by the Dell Farm Crew, the local gang who try, without success, to enlist him; his sister’s best friend; and the obsession everyone has with his unbranded trainers (which, everyone knows, are faster than Adidas anyway).
“Harri’s life is thrown upside down when a schoolmate is killed outside Chicken Joe’s, and Harri and his friend take on the task of investigating who might have committed the murder.
“It’s a nice story tracing Harri’s coming to terms with a new place. At times, I found the narrative voice irritating, and occasionally Harri’s perspective seems skewed through the adult eyes of the author, but ultimately it’s an interesting insight into a life thrown upside down by economic migration.
“If you’re interested in reading it and joining us for the discussion, BookTalk takes place on February 23rd at 7.00pm at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences. We have four speakers on topics ranging from youth crime and status dogs to racism and high-rise living to share their thoughts on the book. To reserve your place or for more information see www.cardiffbooktalk.co.uk.”