Pigeon English

by

Stephen Kelman

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Harrison Opoku (Harri)

Harrison Opoku, nicknamed “Harri,” is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is eleven years old, in Year 7 at school, and has recently moved to London from Accra, Ghana. He is curious, good-natured… read analysis of Harrison Opoku (Harri)

The Dead Boy

The dead boy, who is never named, was a boy a few years older than Harri who was stabbed to death outside Chicken Joe’s. The reader learns fairly little about the dead boy other than… read analysis of The Dead Boy

X-Fire

X-Fire is a student at Harri’s school and the leader of the Dell Farm Crew. He is the leader because he has the best at basketball, has stolen the most things, and has stabbed… read analysis of X-Fire

Killa

Killa is a member of the Dell Farm Crew and student at Harri’s school. He earned the nickname from having stabbed many people, and Harri spends much of the novel suspecting that Killa was the… read analysis of Killa

Lydia

Lydia is Harri’s older sister. Like Harri, she faces pressures to assimilate into London culture, grow up quickly, and demonstrate loyalty to the Dell Farm Crew. These pressures are particularly exerted by her friend… read analysis of Lydia
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Jordan

Jordan is one of Harri’s best friends. Like Harri, he lives in Copenhagen House. He is around Harri’s age and has been expelled from school. Jordan’s mom is white, and Jordan is mixed race… read analysis of Jordan

Connor Green

Connor Green is a boy in Harri’s class who always tells lies, plays tricks, and makes vulgar jokes. At the end of the novel, he reveals that he witnessed Killa stabbing the dead boyread analysis of Connor Green

Miquita

Miquita is Killa’s girlfriend and a friend of Lydia and Chanelle. She is violent and fiercely loyal to the Dell Farm Crew, which leads her to burn Lydia with a hair straightener and… read analysis of Miquita

Auntie Sonia

Auntie Sonia is Harri’s aunt (presumably on Mamma’s side, although this is never explicitly specified). She is honest, kind, and generous, and gives Harri and Lydia gifts. She has travelled all over the… read analysis of Auntie Sonia

Dean

Dean is Harri’s best friend from school. Together, the two of them investigate the murder of the dead boy, inspired by Dean’s love of the CSI television show. Dean is a redhead and… read analysis of Dean

Poppy Morgan

Poppy Morgan is a white girl at Harri’s school whom Harri has a crush on. Harri loves Poppy’s blonde hair and, after they start dating, calls her “my yellow.” Poppy is kind to Harri… read analysis of Poppy Morgan

Chanelle

Chanelle is a friend of Lydia and Miquita. She and Miquita get into a violent fight in school, and it is implied that this is because Chanelle threatened to tell someone that Killa stabbed… read analysis of Chanelle

Fag Ash Lil

Fag Ash Lil is a woman who lives in Harri’s tower block, Copenhagen House. Harri believes that she is the oldest person he’s ever seen and estimates that she is about “200” years old… read analysis of Fag Ash Lil

Altaf

Altaf is a Somali boy also in Year 7 at Harri’s school. He is very quiet and doesn’t have many friends, in part due to prejudice against Somalis, whom the other kids claim are… read analysis of Altaf

Mr. Frimpong

Mr. Frimpong is an elderly member of Harri’s church congregation, presumably also a Ghanaian immigrant. He is very religious and an enthusiastic singer of hymns. The Dell Farm Crew (and an unwilling Harri) rob… read analysis of Mr. Frimpong

Julius

Julius is the rich man who dates Auntie Sonia. He frequently totes a baseball bat, which he calls “the Persuader,” and physically abuses Auntie Sonia, who eventually flees the country to escape from him… read analysis of Julius
Minor Characters
Papa
Papa is Harri’s father. He still lives in Accra, where he owns a shop. Although he only appears in flashbacks and on the phone, it is clear that he is a kind and loving father and a positive role model for Harri.
Vilis
Vilis is a Latvian boy in Harri’s school who is very racist and taunts Harri for being African. Vilis’ incessant bullying is what makes Harri initially consider joining the Dell Farm Crew.
Agnes
Agnes is Harri’s baby sister. She stays in Accra when Harri moves to London because Mamma works too much to be able to take care of her. Instead, Grandma Ama looks after her. Agnes develops a fever, which Harri worries is going to kill her, but she soon recovers.
Grandma Ama
Grandma Ama is Harri’s grandmother. She takes care of Agnes in Ghana after Harri, Mamma, and Lydia move to London.
Mamma
Mamma is Harri’s mother and Auntie Sonia’s sister or sister-in-law. She is a midwife and works long shifts, often at night. She is very religious and fairly conservative.
Pastor Taylor
Pastor Taylor is the pastor of Harri’s church in London.
Manik
Manik is one of Harri’s friends from school. Manik used to be bullied but has been protected ever since Manik’s papa stepped in and began walking him to and from school.
Manik’s Papa
Manik’s papa walks Harri and Manik to school and teaches Harri to tie his uniform tie on Harri’s first day of school.
Dizzy
Dizzy is a member of the Dell Farm Crew and student at Harri’s school.
Clipz
Clipz is a member of the Dell Farm Crew and student at Harri’s school.
Terry Takeaway
Terry Takeaway is a local character who earns his nickname because he is constantly stealing. Despite this criminality and the fact that he is an alcoholic, he is a good-natured, comic character who Harri considers a friend. Terry has a dog named Asbo, whom Harri likes.
Mr. Tomlin
Mr. Tomlin is Harri’s science teacher. Harri adores him because he is funny, charming, and intelligent.
Jordan’s Mom
Jordan’s mom is white and has a tattoo, which Harri thinks makes her a tutufo.
Grandpa Solomon
Grandpa Solomon is Harri’s late grandfather. Harri imagines him playing rock, paper, scissors with Jesus in heaven.
Female Cop
The female cop is a policewoman who investigates the murder of the dead boy. Harri is shocked by the fact that she is a woman.
Kyle Barnes
Kyle Barnes is a kid in Harri’s school who teaches Harri the “dirty finger trick,” which means giving people the finger.
Brayden Campbell
Brayden Campbell is a student at Harri’s school.
Nathan Boyd
Nathan Boyd is known as the bravest kid in Year 7 because he always accepts dares, even once accepting a dare to lick a “crack spoon.”
Abena
Abena was Lydia’s best friend back in Ghana. Harri admits that he was in love with Abena for “one day,” but that he stopped loving her because she was “very stupid.” Abena wanted to be obruni and attempted to whiten her skin using soap flakes.
Chicken Joe
Chicken Joe is the owner of the local chicken shop, which is named after him.
Kwadwo
Kwadwo was Harri’s barber back in Ghana.
Mario
Mario is Harri’s barber in London. Harri doesn’t like him because he is grumpy.
Daniel Bevan
Daniel Bevan is a student in Harri’s school who has asthma. He promises to donate his book collection to Harri if Daniel dies before Harri does.
Chair Car Lady
The chair car lady is a local disabled woman who rides a mobility scooter, which Harri calls a “chair car.” Harri claims that she requires the scooter because she is “too fat to walk.”
Jesus
Jesus is a local character who rollerblades around the neighborhood. He earned his nickname because of his long hair and beard.
Nish
Nish is a local Pakistani man who sells meat at the market. He is arrested by immigration police.
Nish’s Wife
Nish’s wife is also arrested and taken away by immigration police, along with her husband.
The Butcher
The local butcher in Harri’s neighborhood.