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  • Published: 22 September 2016
  • ISBN: 9781783522965
  • Imprint: Unbound Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

The Good Immigrant

Award-winning writer Nikesh Shukla gathers twenty British Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers and artists to reflect on race, immigration and being ‘other’ in Great Britain.

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.

  • Published: 22 September 2016
  • ISBN: 9781783522965
  • Imprint: Unbound Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the author

Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh Shukla is the author of the Costa First Novel Award-shortlisted novel, Coconut Unlimited ('...a riot of cringeworthy moments made real by Shukla's beautifully observed characters and talent for teen banter.' Metro) and the Channel 4 Comedy Lab Kabadasses, starring Jack Doolan, Josie Long and Shazad Latif. His writing has featured on BBC2, Radio 4, and BBC Asian Network. He has performed at Royal Festival Hall, Book Club Boutique, Soho Theatre, The Big Chill and Latitude. He likes Spider-man comics. A lot.

Also by Nikesh Shukla

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Praise for The Good Immigrant

The Good Immigrant is a lively and vital intervention into the British cultural conversation around race. Instead of statistics and dogma we find real human experience and impassioned argument – and it's funny and moving, too. A must read!

Zadie Smith

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.


Highly recommended … It's precisely those who might at first think this book is not about us, who should read it


Perceptive, touching and funny


An important, timely read.

J. K. Rowling

Amazing voices … searingly honest


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


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.


An act of peaceful defiance; as a document of the now, and as an opportunity to educate ourselves about the lives and experiences of others.


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


Jessie Burton, 'Best Books of 2016', Observer

Could not be more timely.

Louise Daughty, 'Best Books of 2016', Observer

The Good Immigrant is that rarest of beasts, a truly necessary book.

Jonathan Coe, 'Best Books of 2016', Observer

I was deeply affected by The Good Immigrant, a vital and often bitingly funny series of personal essays

James Graham, 'Best Books of 2016', Observer

Should become required reading for a new UK citizenship test – one to be taken by everyone who was born here, that is.

Books of the Year, Times Higher Education

A fascinating read

BBC Breakfast

I was expecting something serious, even upsetting. The Good Immigrant is both at times, but the 21 essays are also engrossing, human and hilarious.

Best Books for Christmas

Sticks two fingers up at a discriminatory publishing industry.

New Statesman

The essays, in turns witty, uncomfortable and inspiring, would make for great reading at any time, but were especially welcome this year.

Books of the Year, The Pool

Existentially challenging to the status quo. It could not be more timely.

Readers' Books of 2016, Guardian

What a phenomenal book: timely, poignant and insightful. It deserves to be read as widely as possible.

Malorie Blackman

Warm, funny and often moving. A delight.

Shappi Khorsandi

Quite simply a wonderful antidote to the tired cliches.

Fatima Manji, Channel 4 News

A bold, beautiful and urgent book that should be read widely in these politically and racially charged times. It opened my eyes so much, and, in my opinion, is the most exciting publication of 2016.

Holly Muller, Big Issue

I am stupidly grateful for this book. It opened my eyes to my own experience and gave me words for feelings I had known but never acknowledged. I carry it with me whenever I travel, to remind me that the world is good. Buy this book, carry it with you everywhere, give it to everyone you know. We need it now more than ever.

Emmy the Great

Here are a bunch of brave writers actually doing something about representation … an important book.

Sathnam Sanghera

Incisive, funny, searingly honest … it contains work that should be read by all.

DJ Nihal

Brilliant, unclichéd, 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

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.


A stunning collection of original voices, challenging how we see race and difference.

Mishal Husain

I knew I'd be interested in this book. I didn't realise I'd be so moved. At a time when British identity is being claimed as the exclusive preserve of people who wish immigration had stopped with Hengist and Horsa, it does the heart good to be reminded of how many of us there are, and how deeply woven we are into the fabric of our country. It's a book that will make a lot of young Britons feel more powerful and less alone. Each essay is like another new friend standing up and saying to the reader, 'I see you.'

Hari Kunzru

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