Alex Wheatle

Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in Brixton, Alex spent most of his childhood in a Surrey children’s home. He returned to Brixton in 1977 where he founded the Crucial Rocker sound system and performed his own lyrics under the name of Yardman Irie. He spent a short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981. Following his release he continued to write poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixtonbard.  Alex’s first novel, BRIXTON ROCK, was published to critical acclaim in 1999. More novels followed: EAST OF ACRE LANE, THE SEVEN SISTERS (reissued as HOME BOYS), ISLAND SONGS and THE DIRTY SOUTH, all highly praised. He then started writing for younger readers, starting with the very successful CRONGTON SERIES (LICCLE BIT, CRONGTON KNIGHTS, STRAIGHT OUTTA CRONGTON, HOME GIRL with a new one coming next year. He wrote KERB STAIN BOYS and THE HUMILIATIONS OF WELTON BLAKE for Barrington Stoke. Recently published are the Carnegie Medal shortlisted CANE WARRIORS and KEMOSHA OF THE CARIBBEAN. His books are on school reading lists, Alex takes part in Black History Month every year, works with various organisations to promote reading. He holds workshops in prisons and is frequently invited to schools to speak to students, inspiring in them with his own story a passion for literature. Alex has appeared regularly on BBC1’s The One Show and on radio. He wrote and performed his own one-man autobiographical show for Tara Arts, UPRISING, and took the performance on tour all over the country. He has appeared at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, Hay Festival, Bristol Festival of Ideas, Edinburgh Book Festival amongst others. He is Creative Writing Lecturer in Children & Young Adults fiction at Manchester Metropolitan University. Steve McQueen has based one episode in his 6 part SMALL AXE series for BBC on Alex’s life. His books have been and are being filmed and adapted for theatre.

 

Shortlisted for The Carnegie Medal 2022
Winner of The Young Quills Awards 2021
Shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards 2021
Shortlisted for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021/2018/2017
Winner Of The Accelerated Reader Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards 2017
Winner of The Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Prize 2016
Nominated for The Carnegie Medal 2017/2016
Awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to literature in 2008
Winner of The London Arts Board’s New London Writer’s Award