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>> Author Alex Wheatle's childhood on film

Author Alex Wheatle's childhood on film

Author Alex Wheatle's childhood on film

Award Winning Director Steve McQueen is recreating the childhood of Alex Wheatle as part of a series of films for BBC, Small Axe, which premiers on 15th November. The Alex Wheatle episode will air on Sunday 6th December.

The Small Axe series is based on the real-life experiences of London's West Indian community and is set between 1969 and 1982.

The series has been dedicated to the memory of George Floyd by director McQueen: "I dedicate these films to George Floyd and all the other black people that have been murdered, seen or unseen, because of who they are, in the US, UK and elsewhere," he said. "If you are the big tree, we are the small axe. Black Lives Matter."

The Alex Wheatle episode will be the fifth of McQueen's Small Axe films to air on BBC One and iPlayer. It is entitled Alex Wheatle and stars Sheyi Cole as the author as a young adult. The episode will be live on iPlayer and on BBC One on Sunday 6th December.

The episode will cover Wheatle's childhood in a mostly white institutional care home with no love or family, and how he finally found not only a sense of community for the first time in Brixton, but his identity, and an opportunity to grow his passion for music and DJing. After finding himself in prison during the Brixton Uprising of 1981, Wheatle confronted his past and saw a path to healing.

In the USA the series will premier on Amazon Prime on 15th November.

This announcement comes in the week of release of Wheatle's latest novel, Cane Warriors (Andersen Press), a thrilling novel that shines a light on the horrors of the British slave trade, and the brave men and women who stood up to it and did all they could to overthrow their cruel masters and make a bid for freedom.

On the release of Cane Warriors, Alex Wheatle said, "On Remembrance Sunday every year, the UK honours its fallen dead from the First and Second World Wars and other significant wars. With Cane Warriors, I wanted to honour my ancestry and our glorious dead.

"I wanted to lend power to their voices and realise them on the page. I would like my children's children to learn about the mighty Cane Warriors just as they read about Richard the Lionheart, Joan of Arc and Queen Elizabeth I repelling the Spanish Armada."

Alex Wheatle is the author of several acclaimed novels, many of them inspired by experiences from his childhood. After his short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981, he wrote poems and lyrics and became known as the 'Brixton Bard'. Alex has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008.


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