Author(s): Nikesh Shukla
How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or be told that, as an actress, the part you're most fitted to play is 'wife of a terrorist'? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go 'home' to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick 'Other'? Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be 'other' in a country that doesn't seem to want you, doesn't truly accept you - however many generations you've been here - but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants - job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees - until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and - most importantly - real.
Winner of Books Are My Bag Readers Awards: Readers Choice 2016.
"An important, timely read." -- J. K. Rowling "Highly recommended ... It's precisely those who might at first think this book is not about us, who should read it" Spectator "A fascinating read" BBC Breakfast "The stories are sometimes funny, sometimes brutal, always honest ... if I could, I'd push a copy of this through the letter box of every front door in Britain." Independent "Perceptive, touching and funny" Observer "Amazing voices... searingly honest'" Grazia "We should recognise both the courage that has been shown in producing these essays and the contradictions that necessarily exist across them ... The Good Immigrant helps to open up a much-needed space of unflinching dialogue about race and racism in the UK" Guardian "To say the publication of The Good Immigrant has come at a good time would be an understatement ... If 2016 has left you feeling helpless, desperately wondering what you can do to repair the damage of anti-immigration rhetoric, then reading it would be a good place to start: it leaves you feeling armed with empathy." Vice "Powerful... The Good Immigrant is a reminder of why Britain is at its best when it lifts the burden of the "bad immigrant" and why it loses so much when it lets it grow" New Statesman "What a phenomenal book timely, poignant and insightful. It deserves to be read as widely as possible." Malorie Blackman "Incisive, funny, searingly honest ... it contains work that should be read by all." -- DJ Nihal "Here are a bunch of brave writers actually doing something about representation ... an important book." -- Sathnam Sanghera "Brilliant, uncliched, unique. A book of our time, which everyone must read." -- Shazia Mirza "I want everyone to read this book. I found myself nodding along, feeling the pain, hilarity and anger." -- Anita Rani "Warm, funny and often moving. A delight." -- Shappi Khorsandi "The Good Immigrant's strength not only comes in its numbers, but through the uniqueness of each essay inside, ranging from Coco Khan's look at sexuality and fetishisation, through to Riz MC's retelling of his typical treatment in airport security." Complex "A stunning collection of original voices, challenging how we see race and difference." -- Mishal Husain
Nikesh Shukla is a writer whose debut novel Coconut Unlimited (Quartet Books) was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2011. In 2011 he co-wrote with Kieran Yates an essay about the London riots, Generation Vexed: What the Riots Don't Tell Us About Our Nation's Youth (Random House). In 2013 he released The Time Machine (Galley Beggars Press), a novella about food which won Best Novella at the Sabotage Awards. His second novel, Meatspace, was published by The Friday Project, his short stories have featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and he has previously been writer in residence for BBC Asian Network and Royal Festival Hall. In 2014 he co-wrote Two Dosas, an award-winning short film starring Himesh Patel. His Channel 4 Comedy Lab Kabadasses aired on E4 and Channel 4 in 2011 and starred Shazad Latif, Jack Doolan and Josie Long. He currently hosts The Subaltern podcast, an anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing. Guests have included Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, James Salter, George Saunders, Jennifer Egan, Evie Wyld, Sam Bain, Alex Preston, Colson Whitehead and more. He also co-hosts a podcast with sci-fi writer James Smythe, Meat Up, Hulk Out.