Alex Wheatle, Great Britain

Alex Wheatle, born in 1963 in Brixton to Jamaican parents, spent most of his childhood in a home. Today he lives with his own family in London. At the age of 16 he turned to music, founded a reggae sound system and performed under the DJ name Yardman Irie. He discovered his love of literature in prison, where he was imprisoned for his involvement in the "Brixton Riots" in April 1981.

Alex Wheatle read modern classics by James Baldwin or Richard Wright and, inspired by them, wrote some highly praised novels for adults - and then for young people: For his youth novels set in the fictional big-city ghetto Crongton, he invented a very individual, music-inspired sound. In August 2019, the series translated by Conny Lösch was awarded the Luchs Prize of "Die Zeit". His latest book "Home Girl" tells the story of a youth in the welfare system - and thus also leads back to Wheatles own experiences.

Alex Wheatle is accompanied by Claudia Söffner, lecturer for English literature at the International Youth Library.