Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
By Alex Wheatle
From the acclaimed author of Liccle Bit, comes another story from the South Crong council estate in inner city London.
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.
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.
- Other details
- Publication date:
03 Mar 2016
- Page count:
[This] will soon be on school reading lists and examination syllabuses everywhere, as it has "classic" singing from every page ... A joyous shout of youthful exuberance ... Wheatle's Twain-like command of patois never falters ... Enriching and life-affirming ... A total gem for any age. — Independent
I love this book. It's elegant, authentic and humane. It hums with the beat of real life and the language sings from the page. This is mature, powerful writing by an author with great talent and great heart. — David Almond, Guardian Children's Fiction Prize judge
Brilliant, tough, heartbreaking read. — Tanya Landman, author of Buffalo Soldier, Carnegie medal winner
A fast-paced, funny ride. — Metro
Hopeful, warm and, above all, funny — Guardian, Picks of the Year 2016
Wheatle's writing is poetic, rhythmic and unique, remaking the English language with tremendous verve. Though Crongton is his invention, it resonates with many urban situations, not only in Britain but around the world. Crongton Knights is a major novel from a major voice in British children's literature. — SF Said
Written in an energetic, rhythmic vernacular, Alex Wheatle's award-winning Liccle Bit and Crongton Knights were funny, profane, well-observed accounts of life on an urban estate — Sunday Times