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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

Cane Warriors

Cane Warriors

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2020

Nobody free till everybody free. Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. Time is ticking, and the day of the uprising approaches . . . Irresistible, gripping and unforgettable, Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky's War in Jamaica, 1760.

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.

Home Boys

Home Boys

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/05/2018

Four friends decide to run away from the horror of their everyday lives in a children's home in the English countryside. They head for the woods, their sense of freedom surprises them, and for the first time they feel the exhilaration of adolescence. Yet the forest slowly asserts its own power and what happens there will affect the four boys' lives forever. With his trademark humour, compelling narrative directness, and rhythmic prose, Alex Wheatle here shows himself to be an author of real calibre, exposing the social stigma associated with children's homes, and the psychological consequences of their impact on sensitive children. Never losing pace or failing to engage the reader at every moment, `Home Boys' is an unflinchingly honest depiction of childhood.

Uprising

Uprising

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/01/2017

This gritty but inspiring true story of the award-winning author Alex Wheatle is written for emerging readers, particularly those who are offenders, disaffected or at risk. 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 ...

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...

Island Songs

Island Songs

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/05/2006

She wondered what kind of world she had brought her two daughters into - the tedious cycle of rural Jamaican life. No chance for them to set off upon adventures and see the outside world. But sisters Jenny and Hortense Rodney, descendants of the fierce Maroon people, do get to see the world, and Island Songs is their story. Growing up in rural Claremont, working amid the hustle and bustle, lawn parties and 'houses of joy' in Trenchtown, the two sisters take a chance and move to England with their husbands, that far-off land of riches, where they settle down to motherhood amongst the jazz cafes and bleak streets of Brixton. A hauntingly and beautifully written evocation of twentieth-century Jamaica, its history and traditions, Island Songs is an epic of love, laughter and sorely tested family loyalties. Many stories are told, but many more secrets are never revealed.

East of Acre Lane

East of Acre Lane

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

East of Acre Lane is the fast-paced and razor sharp story of a young man trying to do the right thing and establishes Alex Wheatle as the exciting new voice of the urban experience. When East of Acre Lane was first published in 2001, Alex Wheatle instantly became one of the key commentators on contemporary black culture and was featured in BBC news, radio, numerous papers and Channel 4. The BBC have already optioned 'East of Acre Lane' to be made into a film. Set in 1981, the year of the Brixton riots, the novel is a gripping thriller in a society on the edge of explosion. Wheatle focusses on Biscuit and his posse as a way to introduce the whole community. Biscuit lives with his mother, brother and sister. He helps out by hustling on the frontline for the south London badman, Nunchaks. He doesn't want to be doing this for the rest of his life but it's difficult to get out of the trap. As the patience of the community breaks and the riots begin to erupt, Biscuit has to make a choice that could change his life forever.

Brixton Rock

Brixton Rock

Author: Alex Wheatle Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2004

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