Yardie is, quite simply, a literary sensation in England. Originally published by X Press, a two-man operation, the book was produced on a desktop computer and distributed through unusual channels: it was sold at clothing shops, hairdressers, and even on top of over-turned dumpsters outside of nightclubs. On word of mouth alone, Yardie has sold over twelve thousand copies.
Victor Headley has written a tight, fast-paced narrative that brings us into the previously unexplored territory of Yardies: West Indian gangsters who know that the only route to success available to them is through the dangerous, violent world of drugs.
Yardie introduces us to D., a tough, streetwise man from Jamaica who, using a falsified passport, enters London to deliver a kilo of cocaine to the Spicers, the ruling operation in cocaine distribution. D., knowing it could be his only chance for a break, steals half a kilo and runs out into a city he is entirely unfamiliar with, having only vague contacts from the life he left behind. D. recruits soldiers, sets up his own operation, and quickly establishes himself as a main force in the drug wars of East End London. Soon he is ensconced in a life of crack, cash, guns, and power, fighting to keep his turf from the Spicers, who are plotting their imminent revenge.
Written with style and intensity, Yardie is the first book to come out of this subculture defined by music, dancing, drugs, violence, and, perhaps most of all, anger. Beneath the action lies the unavoidable fact of economic survival faced by a community struggling to make its way in a hostile urban environment.
Yardie (2018) a motion picture, which marked actor Idris Elba’s directorial debut (see video below).