Gurnaik Johal

Gurnaik Johal

Gurnaik Johal is a writer from West London. He was shortlisted for The Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize in 2018 and graduated from The University of Manchester in 2019. He works in children’s publishing.

Gurnaik’s iconic London debut, We Move, is published by Serpent’s Tail.

Praise for We Move:

‘A debut collection of such precocity and aplomb that it stands comparison to the likes of Junot Díaz and Bryan Washington’ Observer

‘These are excellent stories, told with skill and verve. Gurnaik Johal has a sharp eye for details, an ear for the gaps and evasions in real dialogue, and a heart for the hopes and regrets that carry us through our lives. But most of all, he has the instincts of a storyteller, and in We Move he has put those instincts to great effect’ ― Jon McGregor

‘Delicate, controlled and moving portraits of the strange, poignant dislocation wrought by both distance and proximity’ ― Colin Barrett

‘Moving, truthful, straight from the heart (and a very capacious heart too), the stories in WE MOVE announce the arrival of a promising young writer we will be talking about for years to come. Gurnaik Johal, welcome.’ ― Neel Mukherjee

‘An assured and profoundly humane collection, rich in character and story. Johal relocates the human comedy to contemporary Southall and weaves in threads from the past and far across the world’ ― Jo Lloyd, author of The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies

‘A whole universe of lives intricately connected and woven together in a way that is wholly surprising and unobvious’ ― Huma Qureshi, author of Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love


We Move @@GurnaikJohal

V cool to be part of London Literature Festival’s opening night event ‘We Move: Debut London Literature’ @southbankcentre

Tickets available now!💃🏽

Recommended three great fiction debuts for the Guardian: I’M A FAN by @Sheena_Patel_ (@RoughTradeBooks) AN EXCITING AND VIVID INNER LIFE by @pauldallarosa (@serpentstail) and WALKING ON COWRIE SHELLS by @nanankweti (@PressIndigoThe)

📖 Discover Nikesh Shukla's top picks from the #HayFestival2022 programme on our @bookshop_org_UK page now.


“moving and totally transporting”

We Move is one of Stylist’s best holiday books of 2022🏝

The 17 stories in We Move, the debut collection of London-based author Gurnaik Johal, 24, demonstrate a deft touch. Affecting, visceral and spare, they are set in Southall—west London’s “Little Punjab”.
My interview with @GurnaikJohal in today’s @Mint_Lounge @HachetteIndia

Sharing this again as I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on what I consider to be one of the best short story collections published in recent times ...

Two weeks today (Thurs 30/06) we’re hosting an online event with @GurnaikJohal and @nanankweti! They’ll be discussing their incredible debut short story collections, We Move and Walking on Cowrie Shells. 📚 Sign up here:

I absolutely loved this book. The stories are allusive & elusive and pack a powerful emotional punch... much like the short fiction of Yiyun Li...

For an interview with the author @GurnaikJohal see here...

Started my summer reading early...

If you like short stories that fizz with unbridled energy, that recall memories, open up vistas, intrigue, make you wistful for pasts & futures that could be yours...

Then you'll like the stunning debut collection by Gurnaik Johal, We Move...


Had lots of fun on @R3TheVerb with @Egangoonsquad, @AllieEsiri and @IMcMillan 💛

You can listen back here:

This is an excellent collection by @GurnaikJohal. Really thoughtful and affecting. Thanks to @MyBiggestLuke and @Leon_C_C for recommending it @serpentstail

Will be at the Ed Book Festival with @GurnaikJohal talking short stories and epiphanies.

In honour of their respective debut short story collections, we’re hosting an online event on Thursday 30/06 to celebrate @GurnaikJohal's We Move and @nanankweti's Walking On Cowrie Shells. To find out more info or sign up to the event, click here:

Suzi Feay (@suzifeay) hosts the 'Rising Stars' event, where she talks to @Sheena_Patel_ (author of 'I'm a Fan') and @GurnaikJohal ('We Move')

Thanks so much for coming on @R3TheVerb @GurnaikJohal @hayfestival

Really looking forward to chatting to @nanankweti about short stories - Walking on Cowrie Shells is 🔥

Tickets and books available here

The most incredible weekend at @hayfestival being back in magical Hay-on-Wye, the highlight being the brilliant @GurnaikJohal #WeMove