Troubador Feral Youth

Released: 01/08/2013

ISBN: 9781783060580

eISBN: 9781783069309

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Feral Youth

by

The truth is, it ain’t just a race thing. They talk like it is, but really and truly it’s black against white, young against old, authorities against the rest. It’s countless of things. There’s bare reasons for feeling vexed right now.

Growing up on a south London estate and excluded from every school that would take her, Alesha is the poster girl for the nation’s ‘feral youth’. When a young teacher makes an unexpected reappearance in the 15-year-old’s life, opening the door to a world of salaries, pianos and middle-class housemates, Alesha’s instinct is to pull up her hood and return to the streets. But fuelled by a need to survive, she falls into a cycle of crime, violence and drug-dealing, her one true ally deserting her when she needs him most. While everyone around her is rallying against the authorities in a war of haves and have-nots, Alesha finds herself caught in the crossfire, inextricably linked to the people she is trying to fight against. Can she see a way out? And as riots sweep the nation, whose side will she take?

Born in South London and a resident of Ealing, an area affected by the London riots, Polly wrote Feral Youth ‘to give a voice to the thousands of frustrated youths who, like Alesha, feel marginalised and ignored by the rest of society’. She believes that the real causes of the riots have not gone away and that further unrest will happen in a matter of time. Feral Youth is a work of contemporary adult fiction that covers various topical themes, including the riots, youth culture, gangs and knife and gun crime. It sits alongside Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English and Emma Donoghue’s Room in that it is aimed primarily at the adult reader and provides an alternative perspective on a world we think we know.

"Her biting descriptions neatly expose the banality of a macho culture addicted to its own mythology."
METRO

Praise for Feral Youth
“The riots were widely misunderstood. The perception of feral youth causing havoc, driven by nothing more than criminalisation, was mooted from the start and stuck. It meant that the underlying causes such as poverty, broken homes and deprivation were largely unexamined. This book changes that. If you want to understand why so many young people took to the streets two summers ago, read this book.” - Sonya Thomas, Reading the Riots

“Feral Youth is as compelling as it is horrifying. It lifts the lid on the lives of marginalised young people that the media demonises and the rest of us prefer to ignore.” – Fiona Bawdon

“Feral Youth is a unique story that brings the lives and challenges of urban youth to the fore in a provocative way, giving an insight into life on London’s streets beyond the negative stereotypes and provoking us to address the underlying causes of the riots.” – Patrick Regan OBE, Founder & CEO, XLP

“Seeing the World through the eyes of youth, as Polly has achieved with Feral Youth, is something politicians and leaders of industry need to strive to achieve. It gives a unique insight to the very real problems encountered in some of our most deprived areas. Alesha wants to feel self-respect and love from those around her and acceptance from society, but taking the right path and making the right choices is a struggle . The stark reality of life on the streets today is that the wrong choices are often the easiest ones.” – Gary Trowsdale, Damilola Taylor Trust

“Feral Youth is an important book.” – After Nyne

“Feral Youth is as life-affirming as Trainspotting and will connect with teenagers and adults alike.” – Lambert Nagle

http://www.pollycourtney.com

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Polly Courtney

Polly Courtney is the author of seven novels and is a regular commentator on TV and radio. She rose to fame in 2006 with her semi-autobiographical account of life in the Square Mile, Golden Handcuffs, although it was never her intention to become a writer; she simply wanted to expose the high-flying City life 'for what it really is'.

Having discovered her passion, she went on to write Poles Apart, a novel based on her Polish migrant friend's story, and a raft of books covering themes such as sexism, racism, "lads' mag" culture and the wealth divide, all with a light-hearted, humorous slant. Courtney's most recent novel, Feral Youth, is set on the streets of south London and delves into the frustrations that led to the summer riots.

In late 2011, on the publication of her sixth novel, It’s a Man’s World, Courtney famously walked out on her publisher, HarperCollins, frustrated by the 'chick lit' titles and covers being assigned to her books. She went on to self-publish her future novels and now gives regular masterclasses in self-publishing.

The west London novelist also plays violin in a semi-professional string quartet, No Strings Attached, and competes for her local side in the London women’s football league.

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