Jaspal, born and brought up in Leicester, is 14 when his father moves the family to rural Nottinghamshire for a 'better life'. However, they (and their shop) soon become targets for racial abuse, hate mail and threats. Jaspal is victimised by Steggsy and his gang for being the only non-white at his school, but in spite of ignorance and prejudice, Jaspal makes friends and enjoys school. However, when he beats Steggsy in a fight, matters take an ugly turn. This is a compelling and disturbing story, which articulates the conflicts and tensions in Jaspal’s life.
Bali Rai's Background
Bali Rai was born in 1971 and grew up in Leicester. As a child, Bali wanted to be a footballer or to write stories. Always an avid reader, he hails Sue Townsend, Douglas Adams and Robert Swindells as his writing heroes. Bali grew up reading Dr Seuss and Meg and Mog and his first book purchase was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. He realised he wasn't good enough to play for Liverpool F.C. and after gaining a politics degree in London he returned to his home city and combined a variety of jobs in pubs and clubs with completing his first novel. Bali set about writing a story he had been thinking about for many years. He wanted to write accessible material for children of all ages and backgrounds and realising there were no British Asian authors writing for children, he saw a gap. Bali hopes his novels capture the unique ethnic mix of the UK, of which he is proud to be a part.