30 October, 2017
Writers in Conversation features some of today’s best fiction writers, poets, non-fiction writers and playwrights reading from their work and talking about their writing lifestyle - how characters take shape and where ideas come from. Led by creative writing lecturers at the University of Southampton, the event takes place in Nuffield Kitchen, helping to create an evening that is relaxed, engaging and intelligent, yet informal.
“This is mature, powerful writing … (that) hums with the beat of real life” – Guardian prize judge David Almond
London writer Alex Wheatle, winner of the 2016 Guardian children’s fiction prize, will read from and discuss Straight Outta Crongton, the latest of his award-winning Crongton sequence of books for teen-agers, as part of the Writers in Conversation series.
Sometimes known as the “Brixton Bard,” Wheatle credits his interest in books from a short stint he spent in prison after the Brixton riots in 1981, thanks to a a Rastafarian cellmate who recommended he read CLR James’s The Black Jacobins.
Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in Brixton, Wheatle spent most of his childhood in a Surrey children's home before returning to Brixton in 1977 where he founded the Crucial Rocker sound system. Following his release from prison, he continued to write poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixton Bard.
He has published six novels for adults, including the critically successful Brixton Rock. He won an MBE for his service to literature in 2008. But it has been his work for young adults that has given him most acclaim, starting with Liccle Bit, and then Crongton Knights, which won him the Guardian prize.