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  • Published: 24 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241988718
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Cut Short

Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City




The urgent and beautifully written story of Britain's 'knife crime' - and how things could be different

Demetri wants to study criminology at university to understand why people around him carry knives. Jhemar is determined to advocate for his community following the murder of a loved one. Carl's exclusion leaves him vulnerable to the sinister school-to-prison pipeline, but he is resolute to defy expectations. And Tony, the tireless manager of a community centre, is fighting not only for the lives of local young people, but to keep the centre's doors open.

Drawing on the latest research and interviews with experts, this refreshingly-nuanced and beautifully-written book interweaves the stories of a cast of characters at the sharp end of London's serious youth violence epidemic, with chapters on subjects such as social media, gentrification and criminal justice. Showing how we are all connected to this tragedy, Cut Short is a gripping, urgent, sympathetic and often painful portrait of a society fracturing along lines of race, class and postcodes. It is a blueprint for positive change, and a book we desperately need.

  • Published: 24 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241988718
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Praise for Cut Short

Ciaran's work is informed by lived experience at the frontline of social change. It takes a sensitive and respectful look at the truths less often told

George the Poet

Ciaran is the rarest thing: a writer of heart and clarity, who has spent thousands of hours absorbing the rules, codes and heartbreaks of life in some of London's most vulnerable communities . . . I read everything that Ciaran writes because it feels necessary to understand the city that I live in

Sam Knight, New Yorker staff writer

Angry, impassioned, informed, accurate - the story behind the cutting short of public health and young lives

Danny Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1%

Honest, authentic and raw, this book confronts our deepest assumptions about violence, and lays down a transformative path to peace

David Lammy MP, author of Tribes

In a potent mix of personal anecdote, social history and politics, he interweaves the stories of people caught up in the violence, to show how society is fracturing along lines of race, class and postcodes. The result is a trenchant, page-turning and sometimes challenging reading, but also a blueprint for positive change

Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller, Editor's Choice

A crucial contribution and a compelling read. Thapar combines captivating narratives with a sophisticated understanding of the policy landscape - a must-read book for anyone interested in, or working to improve, the safety and well-being of children and young people

Keir Irwin-Rogers, Lecturer in Criminology, The Open University; lead criminologist to the Youth Violence Commission

An incredibly important look at the plight of Britain's youth, delivered with clarity, honesty and an open heart

Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant

Cut Short is at once a compelling memoir, a biting critique of Britain's hideous inequality, and a beautiful tribute to the remarkable strength and spark of London's youth - and those who work with them. Weaving together reflective autobiography, expert interviews and the stories of young people he works with, Ciaran Thapar paints a portrait of London's greatest assets and deepest injustices. Everyone - from teenagers to government ministers - can learn a lot about contemporary Britain from Cut Short

Luke Billingham, youth & community worker, co-author of the Youth Violence Commission Final Report

No bullshit, no filter, just facts from the trenches of the most neglected in society, and the power of music, mentorship and education to change lives. Everyone must read this

Toddla T, DJ

A devastating and beautifully drawn tribute to the young boys that the media turns into statistics of knife crime. In telling their stories, Ciaran Thapar brings to the page their dreams, their imaginations and their hearts

Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

Gripping and dramatic yet also poignant and reflective, Cut Short is essential for our times

Dan Hancox, author of Inner City Pressure

Big up Ciaran x10 on the new book. Ciaran was basically there from where we really started to take off and it's good to see him doing big things and always tryna encourage and give back to the youth 'cause they need that

Skengdo, rapper

Shout out Ciaran on the new book, everyone go cop that and take in the gems - real life issues being addressed. It's important to know that even though the book's called Cut Short your life don't have to be cut short, as long as you're breathing you got opportunities if you just focus and stay consistent

AM, rapper

This book strongly gives a voice to the voiceless . . . essential reading

Kenny Allstar, DJ

Pays poignant tribute to the victims of youth violence who so often become statistics . . . A compelling read that covers a difficult subject with nuance and authority . . . more urgent than ever

Shanti Das, The Sunday Times

Cut Short is an assured debut that leaves you in no doubt of Thapar's talents as a writer. His depictions of the characters he gets to know during his years as a youth worker are full of respect, even love . . . These character studies are complemented by an analytical rigour that means Thapar's powerful narrative kicks against the state - against the austerity and demonisation that keep so many young black men trapped in cycles of poverty and marginalisation while a discourse of knife crime draws attention away from its root causes

Ashish Ghadiali, Observer

Looks at the knife crime phenomenon from street level, rather than top down . . . Given the subject matter, the book is surprisingly hopeful

Max Daly, UnHerd

Makes you stop and think

Nick Robinson, BBC R4's Today programme

A powerful account of teenage lives blighted by violence

Robert Wright, Financial Times

A very inspiring and important piece of work and I'd encourage people to buy it, to read it and to act on it

Ed Miliband

Takes us to the heart of London's street culture . . . more necessary than ever

Alistair Fraser, TLS

Ciaran Thapar is a smart and engaged youth worker with intelligent things to say about youth violence. If you're tired of platitudes and keen to gain an understanding of what's at stake and why, [Cut Short is] really worth your time

Gary Younge

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