Alex Wheatle

Shortlisted for The YA Book Prize 2023
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2022
Shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards 2021
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021
Longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2021
Shortlisted for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature
Winner of The Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Prize 2016
Voted One of The Best Young Adult Novels of The Year by The Telegraph
Nominated for The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016
Nominated for The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017
Shortlisted for The YA Book Prize 2017
Shortlisted for The YA Book Prize 2018

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 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 Brixtonbard.

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 Booktrust and the Children’s Discovery Centre to promote reading. He is representing English PEN. 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. He wrote and performed his own one-man autobiographical show for Tara Arts, UPRISING, and took the performance on tour in October 2012 and into the beginning of 2013 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 (aired Autumn 2020).

Alex was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to literature in 2008. A favourite of reading groups and libraries.