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Alex Wheatle - Author

About the Author

Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in Brixton, ALEX WHEATLE 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 songs and lyrics under the name of Yardman Irie. He spent a short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981. Following his release from prison he continued to write poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixton Bard. Alex's first novel, BRIXTON ROCK, was published to critical acclaim in 1999. Five more novels, EAST OF ACRE LANE, THE SEVEN SISTERS, ISLAND SONGS, CHECKERS and THE DIRTY SOUTH followed, all highly praised. His books are on school reading lists, Alex takes part in Black History Month every year, works with Streatham Youth Community Trust, helping to run a homework club. He is representing English PEN, and tours the country with his one-man show, UPRISING. He teaches in various places including Lambeth College, 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 also appears regularly on BBC1's The One Show and on radio. In the autumn of 2010 he wrote and performed his own one-man autobiographical show for Tara Arts, UPRISING, and took the performance on tour in October 2012. He was at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in July 2011. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to literature in 2008. A favourite of reading groups and libraries, he is UK's most read Black British author. He is working on a non-fiction book about Black Britain and on more Young Adult novels. He lives with his family in South London.

Featured books by Alex Wheatle

Other books by Alex Wheatle

Straight Outta Crongton

Straight Outta Crongton

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 15/04/2021

Crongton Knights

Crongton Knights

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 25/02/2021

The Humiliations of Welton Blake

The Humiliations of Welton Blake

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/01/2021

Welton Blake has done it! He's asked out Carmella McKenzie - the best-looking girl in school - and she's only gone and said yes! But just as he thinks his luck is starting to change, Welton's phone breaks, kick-starting a series of unfortunate and humiliating events. With bullies to avoid, girls ready to knock him out and all the drama with his mum and dad, life for Welton is about to go very, very wrong ... Hilarity follows disaster in this sharp-witted tale of the trials of teen life from award-winning author Alex Wheatle.

Brixton Rock

Brixton Rock

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/12/2020

'Alex Wheatle writes from a place of honesty and passion with the full knowledge and understanding that change can only happen through words and actions' - Steve McQueen Set in South London in the 1980s, Brenton Brown is a 16-year-old mixed race youth who has lived in a children's home all his life. He has never met his mother and is haunted by her loss. The best thing happens: Brenton is reunited with his mother, Cynthia. And then the worst: he falls in love with his beautiful half-sister, Juliet. At the same time Brenton meets his nemesis in the shape of Terry Flynn, a killer who scars him for life. Brenton seeks revenge. All this leads to an explosive climax with the troubled teenager struggling to hold on to his sanity. In this updated version of the prize-winning original, Alex Wheatle entertains us with his colourful descriptions of South London street life as he tracks a pair of adolescent males on the loose.

Home Boys

Home Boys

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/12/2020

'Alex Wheatle writes from a place of honesty and passion with the full knowledge and understanding that change can only happen through words and actions' - Steve McQueen Four schoolchildren decide to run away from the the horrors of their everyday lives in a children's home. They seek asylum in the woods. And it is there they enjoy the exhilaration of freedom and the first flush of adolescence. Yet the forest slowly asserts its own power and what happens out in the wild will affect the four boys' lives forever. With his compelling narrative directness, rhythmic prose, and trademark humour, Alex Wheatle shows himself to be an author of real calibre, exposing the social stigma associated with children's homes, and the horrifying psychological consequences of their impact on children at the most sensitive stage. Never losing pace or failing to engage the reader at every moment, Home Boys is an unflinchingly honest depiction of disrupted childhoods.

Home Girl

Home Girl

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 26/09/2019

Home Girl

Home Girl

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2019

'Alex Wheatle is the real deal; he writes with heart and authenticity, books that make you laugh and worry and cry and hold your breath. It's a pity there's only one of him' Kit de Waal 'I love Alex and all he stands for in the world of literature' Kerry Hudson 'Alex Wheatle is an inspirer. He is a vital writer. He is a prince among men. Long may he reign' Lemn Sissay 'An author with great talent and great heart' David Almond 'A major voice in British children's literature' S F Said 'Alex is a one of our foremost literary activists, giving voice to the black working class experience with unsurpassed clarity and compassion. For this alone he should be universally considered a national treasure' Stephen Kelman 'A writer who knows unseen places, unheard people and untold stories because he has lived a life that might have remained hidden if he hadn't found within him the urge and talent to write' Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 'This isn't my home. Haven't had a proper home since...This is just somewhere I'll be resting my bones for a week and maybe a bit. This time next year you'll forget who I am. I haven't got a diddly where I'll be by then. But I'm used to it' New from the winner of the Guardian Children's Book Award: Home Girl is the story of Naomi, a teenage girl growing up fast in the care system. It is a wholly modern story which sheds a much needed light on what can be an unsettling life - and the consequences that can follow when children are treated like pawns on a family chessboard. Home Girl is fast-paced and funny, tender, tragic and full of courage - just like Naomi. It is award-winning author Alex Wheatle's most moving and personal novel to date.

Kerb-Stain Boys

Kerb-Stain Boys

Author: Alex Wheatle, Ali Ardington Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2018

Life on the Crongton estate can be rough for Briggy. Dad's lost his job, Mum's working so hard to make ends meet, and big brother Kingsley just wants out. With all of the shouting and arguing it's difficult not to get lost in the mix. So when his best mate Terror and coolest chick in the year Caldonia, cook up a plan to make a quick buck, Briggy hopes this time it might be his chance to shine. Robbing the Post Office ... what could go wrong? A brilliantly real and funny novella of life on one of London's toughest (fictional) estates.

Uprising

Uprising

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/05/2017

This is the gritty but inspiring true story of the award-winning author Alex Wheatle. Alex had a tough start in life. He was abandoned by his family as a young child and grew up in a care home. After being expelled from school as a teenager, he was sent to live in a hostel in Brixton. There, Alex found music and friends but he also got mixed up in drugs and violence. When he was sent to prison for taking part in the Brixton Uprising, Alex's future seemed hopeless. But then something happened to change his life . . . This book is particularly suitable for adults who are new to reading (emergent reads). It includes 'What do you think?' questions at the end of each chapter.

Crongton Knights

Crongton Knights

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/03/2016

Winner of the Guardian Children Fiction's Prize 2016 Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2017 Living on the South Crongton council estate has its worries - and life for McKay has been even tougher since his mum died. His dad has been working all hours to keep the bailiffs from their door. His brother is always out riding the streets at night, tempting trouble. And now, having strayed off his turf on a 'heroic' (if misguided) mission to help out a girl, McKay finds himself facing a friend's crazy ex-boyfriend, some power-tripping hood-rats and a notoriously violent gangster with a vendetta which hits too close to home. Poor McKay. He never asked for trouble . . . But during one madcap night of adventure and danger, he will find out who his true friends are and what it means to stick with your family. Crongton Knights is a very funny, very moving story that shows that although life is testing, the lessons learned the hard way are the ones you'll never forget.

Liccle Bit

Liccle Bit

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/03/2015

What's worse than hiding a secret? Liccle Bit's about to find out... Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Things aren't much better at home. His mum is permanently hassled, his sister a frustrated single mum and his dad moved out years ago. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something - anything! - to make life better. A new phone would be a start... When Venetia starts paying Liccle Bit attention, he secretly hopes he's on a fast track to a first date. Unfortunately, as a new gang war breaks out, he finds himself on a fast track to something much more sinister. South Crongton's notorious gang leader has taken an interest in Liccle Bit. Before he knows what's happening, he finds himself running errands. But when he hears about a killing on the estate, Liccle Bit is forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right?

Brenton Brown

Brenton Brown

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2012

Juliet is consumed with guilt because she knows that her half-brother, Brenton, grew up in children's homes with no family while she received all her mother's love. She marries Clayton, a successful banker, to please her mother. He treats her daughter, Breanna, like his own - but secretly he has always suspected that there has been something going on between Juliet and Brenton. Meanwhile, Juliet and Brenton try to stay away from what they know is a forbidden love...

Brenton Brown

Brenton Brown

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/06/2011

Juliet is consumed with guilt because she knows that her half-brother, Brenton, grew up in children's homes with no family while she received all her mother's love. She marries Clayton, a successful banker, to please her mother. He treats her daughter, Breanna, like his own - but secretly he has always suspected that there has been something going on between Juliet and Brenton. Meanwhile, Juliet and Brenton try to stay away from what they know is a forbidden love...

The Dirty South

The Dirty South

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2009

Set in Brixton, 20 years after the race riots, The Dirty South follows the adventures of Bricky teenager Dennis Huggins as he drifts into the easy, dangerous life of the shotta - or drug dealer - and discovers that, hard as the struggle for respect on the streets is, the struggle for love is harder still. At least Dennis has involved parents looking out for him; too many of his friends have no guidance other than that offered by their fellow shottaz, or the dubiously motivated black Muslims. Wheatle brilliantly evokes the temptations of the thug life for young black men growing up in London's 'Dirty South' - a fast, compelling novel that offers no easy answers, but refuses to shy away from asking the difficult questions.

East of Acre Lane

East of Acre Lane

Author: Alex Wheatle, Paul Gilroy Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/2006

'Alex Wheatle writes from a place of honesty and passion' Steve McQueen, director of Small Axe East of Acre Lane is the fast-paced and razor sharp story of a young man trying to do the right thing from celebrated author Alex Wheatle, one of the figures who inspired Steve McQueen's Small Axe It is 1981, and Brixton is on the verge of exploding. Biscuit lives with his mother, brother and sister, trapped hustling on the frontline for the South London badman Nunchucks. As the patience of the community breaks and the riots erupt, Biscuit must make a choice that could change his life forever. 'His prose is as sharp as a barber's cutthroat and the hard edged dialogue perfectly captures that London vibe. Thrilling, very funny, and most of all a page turner' Courttia Newland

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