Kelman was born and raised in Luton, Bedfordshire, growing up on the Marsh Farm estate. He studied marketing at the University of Bedfordshire, and subsequently worked in a factory before writing Pigeon English, a novel inspired in part by the murder of Damilola Taylor in 2000.
- "Stephen Kelman: 'I feel that I've gatecrashed the Booker Prize shortlist'". The London Evening Standard, 7 September 2011.
- "Author fulfils destiny with Booker prize nomination acclaim". Luton & Dunstable Express, August 14, 2011.
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