Cut Short

Cut Short

Why We’re Failing Our Youth – and How to Fix It


'I came away from this book enraged, enlightened and with a sense of urgency to do something' Annie Mac

'Lays down a transformative path to peace'
David Lammy MP

'Compelling' The Sunday Times; 'Assured' Observer; 'Brilliantly written' Nikesh Shukla

Demetri wants to study criminology at university to understand why people around him carry knives.

Jhemar is determined to advocate for his community following the murder of a loved one.

Carl's exclusion leaves him vulnerable to the sinister school-to-prison pipeline, but he is resolute to defy expectations.

Tony, the tireless manager of a community centre, is fighting not only for the lives of local young people, but to keep the centre's doors open.

Drawing on the latest research and interviews with experts, this refreshingly nuanced and beautifully written book interweaves the stories of a cast of characters at the sharp end of the UK's serious youth violence epidemic, with chapters on subjects such as social media, gentrification and criminal justice.

Showing how we are all connected to this tragedy, Cut Short is a gripping, urgent, sympathetic and often painful portrait of a society fracturing along lines of race, class and postcode. It is a blueprint for positive change, and a book we desperately need.

'A devastating and beautifully-drawn tribute to the young boys that the media turns into statistics of knife crime' Candice Carty-Williams

'Makes you stop and think' Nick Robinson, BBC R4's Today programme

'This book strongly gives a voice to the voiceless . . . essential reading' Kenny Allstar

'Angry, impassioned, informed, accurate - the story behind the cutting short of public health and young lives' Danny Dorling

'Ciaran's work is informed by lived experience at the frontline of social change. It takes a sensitive and respectful look at the truths less often told' George the Poet


  • A very inspiring and important piece of work and I'd encourage people to buy it, to read it and to act on it
    Ed Miliband

About the author

Ciaran Thapar

Ciaran Thapar is a writer, youth worker and education consultant based in London. He has experience volunteering and working across secondary schools, youth services and the criminal justice system. His youth and education work focuses on preventing social exclusion and violence amongst young people who face systemic disadvantage. He is the Founder of RoadWorks LDN, a community interest organisation which supports young people to tell stories through music and writing workshops. As a regular contributor to the Guardian, British GQ and others, Ciaran writes longform profiles, narrative nonfiction stories and investigative features about themes like social justice, urban inequality, British-Punjabi identity and London music culture. He teaches 'Writing for Social Impact' at City University and holds an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. This is his first book.
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