Olumide Popoola & Annie Holmesbreach

A Peirene Commission

breach – noun: An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct. A gap in a wall, barrier, or defence, especially one made by an attacking army.
breach – verb: Make a gap in and break through (a wall, barrier, or defence). (Of a whale) rise and break through the surface of the water.

‘The Jungle is like a laboratory.’

In the refugee camp known as The Jungle an illusion is being disrupted: that of a neatly ordered world, with those deserving safety and comfort separated from those who need to be kept out.

Calais is a border town. Between France and Britain. Between us and them. The eight short stories in this collection explore the refugee crisis through fiction. They give voice to the hopes and fears of both sides. Dlo and Jan break into refrigerated trucks bound for the UK. Marjorie, a volunteer, is happy to mingle in the camps until her niece goes a step too far. Mariam lies to her mother back home. With humour, insight and empathy breach tackles an issue that we can no longer ignore.

breach is the first title in the Peirene Now! series. This exciting new series will be made up of commissioned works of new fiction, which engage with the political issues of the day. In breach, the authors beautifully capture a multiplicity of voices – refugees, volunteers, angry citizens – whilst deftly charting a clear narrative path through it all. Each story is different in tone, and yet they complement one another perfectly. Taken as a whole, this stands as an empathetic and probing collage, where the words ‘home’, ‘displacement’ and ‘integration’ come to mean many things as the collection progresses to a moving finale.

Purchase breach


“This is fine, suspenseful fiction springing from human lives in extremis…” Guardian review by Kapka Kassabova

“An insightful new book chronicling the plight of refugees in the so-called Calais Jungle ought to be mandatory reading for anyone troubled by the crisis or mistrustful of Johnny Foreigner.” Malcolm Forbes for the Herald Scotland

“One might worry that in a work commissioned to address topical concerns, craft and artistry might suffer. breach will put those fears to rest from page one. Line for line, paragraph for paragraph the writing is detailed yet spare, with arresting images.” Margaret Luongo, Consequence Magazine

“Beautifully written, these stories demand that we debate how sympathy can become effective engagement, both humanitarian and political.” Kelvin Jackson, Peace News