Similar authors to follow
See more recommendations
Customers Also Bought Items By
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 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.
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?
‘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 outside 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 among the jazz cafés and bleak streets of Brixton.
A hauntingly 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.
Moa, a fourteen-year-old slave, gets caught up in the most significant slave rebellion in Jamaican history, paying homage to freedom fighters all over the world.
Alex Wheatle is a finalist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature!
"Two teenage slaves in 1760 Jamaica join other enslaved people in the rebellion that is now known as Tacky's War."
--Publishers Weekly, included in Fall 2020 Children's Announcements
"Black Sheep stands tall with Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle, following Moa, an enslaved 14-year-old in 1760s Jamaica who is recruited by rebels to fight in the slave rebellion called Tacky's War."
--Publishers Weekly, included in Sneak Previews for Fall 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, Academy Award–winning film director
"This is a vital part of British and Jamaican history brought vividly to life. Alex Wheatle has reclaimed our ancestors and given them the voice they were denied."
--Catherine Johnson, author and screenwriter
"The importance of this book cannot be overstated. Alex Wheatle takes the truth and creates fiction to illuminate that truth. He too is a warrior--a word warrior. I saw my ancestors in this book, and now I know that Alex and I really are brothers."
--Benjamin Zephaniah, author of Gangsta Rap
"Though it is a work of fiction, Cane Warriors is rooted in reality, the horrors of colonialism, and the subjugation of a people, which provides an educational experience for the reader with the turning of each crisp page...Cane Warriors serves as an inspiring but also sobering reminder that the fight for survival spans across centuries and is very much ongoing. And it is not about the survival of a lone individual, but rather the collective struggle, what that entails, and what it means."
--Nadine White, news reporter, HuffPost UK
Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugarcane 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 as the day of the uprising approaches...
Irresistible, gripping, and unforgettable, Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky's War in Jamaica, 1760.
"Wheatle has delivered a definitive narrative steeped in cultural philosophy and human sensibilities. Despite the foibles of his tragic characters, a redemptive quality is present--persevering--a testament of the human will to survive against all odds...Highly recommended."
--Kaieteur News (Guyana)
"With a tough exterior and brash attitude, Naomi is an authentic character in an unfortunate yet accurate picture of modern-day foster care in the UK...The ending is neither predictable nor sugarcoated, leaving readers rooting for this determined heroine."
--School Library Journal
Included in In the Margins's 2020 Recommended Fiction List
Included in Publishers Weekly's African-American Interest Young Readers's Titles, 2019–2020
Included in Booklist's Fall 2019 Youth Preview
Included in Publishers Weekly's Fall 2019 Children's Sneak Previews
"As politicians might only see the population's day-to-day lives in terms of statistics rather than experiences, (knowing how many people work on minimum wage doesn't say anything about what the experience is like), they might benefit from more of an insight. A useful contemporary novel they should pick up is Alex Wheatle's Home Girl, focusing on the experience of a girl in the foster care system who is constantly shifted around and can never find a permanent home. Wheatle's other books might be just as beneficial, as he draws on his own experiences of Brixton and the social system."
--The Boar, included in The Politicians' Required Reading List
"Wheatle returns to the world of his award-winning Crongton books with what Atom is calling his most powerful and personal novel yet. Naomi Brisset is a teenage girl growing up too fast in the UK care system. Her journey through a series of foster homes exposes the unsettling, often heartwrenching truth of this life. Yet despite the grit, Wheatle's writing is as rich and warm as ever, bringing courage and hope to an unforgettable heroine's story."
--Bookseller (UK), Editors' Choice
"Teenager Naomi, old before her time and as vulnerable as she is fierce, is growing up in the care system. Foster homes and pupil referral units revealing the unsettling, often bewildering reality of this existence. Wheatle's empathy, authentic characters, and rich dialogue illuminate the dark."
--Observer Magazine (UK)
"Another powerful and poignant novel deftly created by one of the most prolific master novelists on either side of the pond. Home Girl is a page-turner, with not a dull moment. Loved it from the rooter to the tooter."
--Eric Jerome Dickey, New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Wicked
"Alex Wheatle's latest novel offers no unrealistic fairy tale happy ending. But the award-winning writer, who draws on his own experiences of a childhood in care, does offer some hope for Naomi, a sometimes difficult but very likeable heroine."
--Irish News, Children's Book of the Week
This isn't my home. Haven't had a proper home since...
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.