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The Illegal Immigrant

by Mohammed Umar

Who is Mustapha? A respected Nigerian journalist and an aspiring filmmaker or an illegal immigrant wanted by the Home Office? Is he even Mustapha, or is he Michael, Kimani, or any one of the other identities he takes on to survive? This is not just Mustapha’s story. It is a social saga with a glittering array of memorable characters embodying the ethnic and cultural diversity of London. Samuel Selvon’s Lonely Londoners gave us the city from the perspective of Caribbean immigrants who arrived in the 1950s. Mohammed Umar’s The Illegal Immigrant not only gives us the African experience of the 1990s, but reveals a society knitted together from a tapestry of multiple brightly coloured strands: Africans from different parts of the continent, West Indians from different Caribbean islands, sub-continental Indians, Europeans, Iranians and many others. What they have in common is their quest for ‘another world, a new chapter, a new dawn and a new dream.’ The journey of self-discovery and self-creation on which we accompany Mustapha dramatises the idea that identity is endlessly open to negotiation and change. This process can at times be simultaneously painful and liberating.

ISBN 9780957208452 | 412 pages | 216 x 140mm | 2017 | Salaam Publishing, UK | Paperback

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Reviews

"This is the best book about the African immigrant experience in London and well worth waiting for. A must-read for anyone interested in walking in the shoes of an African immigrant in a contemporary context. It will become a classic."

Becky Ayebia Clarke MBE, Publisher Ayebia Clarke Publishing Company, UK

“This book is amazing. It taught me more about what it is like to be an illegal immigrant in Britain than anything else I have read. Everyone should read it. You won't be able to put it down.”

Ken Livingston, Former Major of London

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