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Alex Wheatle

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.

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