I remember exactly where I was when the tales of Keisha took over the digital world in the mid to late noughties. The risqué chapters of this young girl’s journey would often have me and several of my peers distracted in class, it ignited book club type discussions across the college canteen and had most of us blushing (either literally or figuratively) at the rather explicit and raunchy nature of the scenes.
The problematic love life and poor decisions of Keisha had most students of Lewisham’s Christ The King (shout out CTK class of 06-08) and i’m sure all other surrounding colleges and secondary schools eagerly anticipating the next text just to see what would happen next.
Merky Books recently announced that they will be releasing a 2021 book version of Keisha The Sket later this year, 16 years on from when we were originally glued to the story via our 3G enabled mobile phones and the culture rejoiced.
For many, the news of the upcoming book instantly generated feelings of nostalgia and joy. With what still continues to be quite a tough time for some, this bit of good news was right on time. Personally, it also made me feel quite proud and genuinely happy for the then anonymous (and still relatively unknown) author of the original ‘Keisha The Sket’.
(At the risk of sounding like a grandma), you have to remember that back then the digital world wasn’t as vast as it is now; there was no Instagram, Twitter would only be making its online debut that summer and a lot of us were still basking in the benefits of the extinction of dial up internet access (I still remember the dial up modem sounds vividly, which was usually followed by someone at home screaming “I’M ON THE PHONE!” *shudders*).
However, even with slower internet connectivity and limited online platforms, ‘Keisha The Sket’ still managed to capture a generation and had teenagers constantly checking and blue toothing chapters of this soon to be novel through their Sony Ericssons and Motorola flip phones.
The original storytelling of Keisha The Sket contained the language, experiences and characters that were familiar to young Londoners at that time. With most of us having mainly consumed the literary works of Shakespeare and other great, yet unrelatable fictional authors; the slang used within Keisha The Sket as well as the familiarity of the friendships and relationships within its inner city London settings not only made Keisha The Sket refreshing but ultimately engaging. This is why the revisit of this iconic piece of literature is a big W for 2021.
Having lived on our phones and mostly in our memories for the longest time, I for one cannot wait to reconnect with Keisha and hope that all audiences both old and new enjoy this culture classic.
Keisha the Sket is due for release on October 14th and is available to pre-order. The blurb reads: “Revisited in print for the first time, Keisha the Sket tells the story of an unforgettable heroine Keisha, a girl from the ends who is sharp, feisty and ambitious; she’s been labelled ‘top sket’ but she’s making it work. When childhood crush and long-time admirer Ricardo finally wins her over, Keisha has it all: power, a love life and the chance for stability. But trauma comes knocking and with it a whirlwind of choices that will define what kind of a woman she truly wants to be.”
Originally penned by Jade LB, a South London creative and academic writer, the book will also include essays from contemporary writers Candice Carty-Williams, Caleb Femi, Aniefiok Ekpoudom and more.