ISBN 9780957208452
Pages 412
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2017
Publisher Salaam Publishing, UK
Format Paperback

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.

Book Preview


"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

About the Author

Mohammed Umar

Mohammed Umar was born in Azare in Nigeria’s Bauchi State. He studied political science at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He then graduated with an M.A. in journalism from Moscow State University (1991) and M.A. in political economy from Middlesex University, UK (1996). Mohammed Umar served as a judge for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009 and he was the winner of the Muslim News Award for Excellence in Arts in 2010. He lives in London.