Alex Wheatle was born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in Brixton and 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. His debut novel, Brixton Rock, was published to critical acclaim in 1999. His books are on school reading lists, and he works with Booktrust and the Children’s Discovery Centre to promote reading. He teaches in various places including Lambeth College, holds workshops in prisons and is frequently invited to schools to speak to students. 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 awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to literature in 2008. Crongton Knights, the follow up to Liccle Bit, won the Guardian’s Children’s fiction award for 2016.
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Image thanks to Walter White