BODLEY HEAD IS PROUD TO BE PUBLISHING TURF, THE DEBUT NOVEL FROM AUTHOR JOHN LUCAS
PUBLISHED ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE LONDON RIOTS, TURF IS A STORY ABOUT TEENAGERS, URBAN GANGS AND STREET VIOLENCE
In 2011 the streets of London witnessed the worst violence in over 25 years. The riots spread to other major UK cities including Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. Suggested contributing factors included family breakdown, social breakdown, poor relations with the police and unemployment. A YouGov poll was carried out on 8–9 August 2011 for The Sun asking what those surveyed believed to be the main cause of the riots. In it, 26% of those polled thought “gang culture” to be the main cause. On the anniversary of the riots, Bodley Head will be publishing TURF, which explores issues of teenage gang violence on the streets of London and the issues that lead these youths to makes the choices they do.
John Lucas was born and raised in Hackney and has been both a witness to and a victim of street violence. He was heavily influenced by the glut of stories about gang violence and knife crime in the press while writing TURF and this along with his own personal experience of growing up and living in Hackney led him to write a story which reflects the lives of many inner -city teens living in today’s society.
John Lucas says ‘‘I have a lot of sympathy for people caught up in that world, partly because of my own experiences, but also because I think our unbalanced society is more to blame than they are. I don’t believe the riots would have happened, and I don’t believe gang violence would be anywhere near the issue it is if there were more opportunities out there and people had a better quality of life. Dealing with that should come first before people point the finger. It’s a theme that runs through both the issues in Turf and the fallout from the riots. Also, far too much one-dimensional demonization goes on, both in fiction and in the media, and I felt there was a gap there for a different take on those issues.’
TURF tells the story of a boy caught up in an urban gang who is forced to make a choice which will change not only the rest of his life but also the lives of all those around him. TURF is a story about loyalty, honour and above all about consequence.
TURF by JOHN LUCAS – Published by Bodley Head 2nd August 2012 – TPB £9.99