Pub date: Thursday 2 July 2015
Format: B-format Paperback
Genre: Young adult
e- ISBN: 978-1908446398
A story of heartache, passion, hope and courage
‘This is a book full to the brim with the joy, heartache and passion for the beautiful game.’
Carnegie Medal winner Melvin Burgess
‘A welcome addition to British writing in this genre. It is a strong inspirational story about human aspiration.’
Commonwealth Writers’ Prize shortlisted Jacob Ross
‘Touching, funny and well tackled!’
Muli Amaye, novelist
‘It’s been a long time coming but the master is back…Pete Kalu returns with a story that takes you through every emotion a young schoolboy goes through.’
Dotun Adebayo, BBC Radio 5
‘This boy is our Ronaldo, our Messi, our Rooney…’ The Silent Striker is the story of 14-year-old Marcus, a footballing genius and the star player of his school team at Ducie High in a tough, ethnically-diverse inner-city neighbourhood. His Nigerian dad is a wannabe soul singer with a day job as a postman, and his English mum cold calls double glazing for a living. When Marcus is talent spotted by a scout for Manchester United, it seems his moment has finally arrived. But before he can realise his dreams, he finds he must first overcome disability, bullying, racism, and ultimately, his own self-doubt.
MEET AUTHOR PETE KALU
Pete Kalu has published five novels for adults and has won prizes for both his theatre plays and his poetry, including the BBC’s Dangerous Comedy Award 2003. He is a PhD Creative Writing student at Lancaster University. He lives in Manchester.
Who is Pete Kalu in your own words?
He faces many ways. To those who have read his poems, he is a romance-inclined free verse poet. To his crime fiction readers he is a hard driven samurai of the city.To his short story readers he is a flash fiction experimentalist. To his YA series readers he is a footballing mad chronicler of YA lives attempting to carve out a space where black lives can be re-imagined. To debt collectors and bailiffs he is the recently moved/deceased.
What’s a typical day like for you and how do you find inspiration to write?
I get up and can’t find the keys to my car, forget which pieces of papers I am meant to be signing and why, realise the milk has gone off and so decide I like black tea. As I brush my teeth I am aware there is a list somewhere in the house of other things I am meant to do and instead I drink the tea and then slide into my writing chair.
My inspiration is humanness in all its imperfection, stupidity, invention, ego, vulnerability and dignity. I try to write compassionately, aware of how we all somehow rise above the many daily attritions of life. And this strange and often hidden nobility is all around me so I never run out of things/people to write about – sometimes I lock myself in so I don’t see more. Inspiration? One example: I love that one 14 year reviewer wrote in the amazon review section for The Silent Striker that ‘my favourite character in the book is the dog.’ That makes me think, next time I will write about a dog, maybe I’m all done with humans and my next book will be ‘Nero, the Rottweiler: My Story.’
Seeing you’re a PHD student in Creative Writing, how does a formal education help in your writings?
Writers are dreamers and universities are the dreaming spires. There are not many places in life where you can be encouraged to muse, to speculate, to experiment. Take pilots, surgeons or gas engineers: I feel much safer if they stick to the well known and fully understood. So my PhD is an opportunity to celebrate uncertainty. I can talk about the different uses of commas, whether we might abolish them forever, for instance, or just how short can a short story get before it becomes a poem? And somebody has to listen. That’s what universities are for.
Please share with us some of your core values.
Compassion. Accepting that everyone sees the world differently and exists within the world differently. I’ve seen top notch people – brilliant medical doctors – broken and reduced to begging on the streets. I’ve seen love drive the most sane of souls to absolute foolery. I’ve heard toilet cleaners peak as much wisdom as Professors of Philosophy.
Engagement. I refuse to believe that the way the world is currently arranged is the best we can do. We are hardly on this earth a blink of an eye, let’s at least have some fun and try giving people dignity, strive to allow everyone to appreciate its wonders in that blink of time.
What can readers look forward to in the near future from you?
I’m continuing to work on my YA novels – The Silent Striker and Being Me are done and dusted and I’ll get stuck into the third one soon, probably called The Substitute. I’m also slowly gathering my short stories and poetry together. Then there’s the film I want to make [he laughs]. I’m hyperactive. There’s probably a pill for it.
HopeRoad, set up in 2012, specialises in writers and writing from and about Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. We give a voice to writers and stories that might otherwise be missed by the mainstream book trade. Website: www.hoperoadpublishing.com