Set in ’70s Jamaica and ’80s East London, Yardie centres on the life of D. After witnessing his brother’s murder as a boy, D is taken under the wing of a Kingston don and enters the world of crime lords and their soldiers.
As a young man, D is sent to London trusted with a delivery of top-grade cocaine strapped to his body, which sets him on an explosive quest for retribution.
Now a film directed by Idris Elba, Yardie by Victor Headley shone a light on the brutal underworld of 90s London gang culture.
Idris Elba on reading Yardie and bringing it to the big screen as his directorial debut:
“Yardie is a story about a young man dealing with the trauma of losing a sibling at the tender age of 10. Victor Headley’s book was one of the few books I read as teenager, I’m not a big reader, so this was a big deal to me at the time and the story stuck to my ribs for many years.
I could relate to the lead character of D. His anger (teenagers are always angry), his drive and charisma. Victor’s novel captured my imagination and that of the many people that made this book a cult 90s classic.
When the opportunity arose to make it into a film, I was first in line with my arm fully stretched. The script had all the attractive qualities of a genre movie and then some, but it lacked something that I knew I could bring to life in a unique way, in a way that was driven by my own experiences as a young BWOY growing up in East London.”
About the author:
Victor Headley (born 1959) is a Jamaican-born British author. He is the author of the bestselling novel Yardie (1992), which gained cult status upon publication. His other books include Excess, Yush, Fetish, Here Comes the Bride, Off Duty and Seven Seals.
The film tie-in of Yardie, by Victor Headley, is published on 23rd August (Pan, £7.99)