Our Writers at the Auckland Writers Festival 2018
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 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.
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.
Alex is part of the Schools Programme. Find out more.
Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996, when she completed her PhD at University of California Berkeley and began teaching and researching first at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then at Johns Hopkins University. She is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given within the Earth Sciences. She was a tenured professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu from 2008 to 2016, where she built the Isotope Geobiology Laboratories, with support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. She currently holds the J. Tuzo Wilson Professorship at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Susie Boyt, daughter of the painter, Lucian Freud, is the author of six acclaimed novels and the much-loved memoir My Judy Garland Life which was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize, staged at the Nottingham Playhouse and serialised on BBC Radio 4. She has written about art, life and fashion for the Financial Times for the past fourteen years and has recently edited The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories by Henry James. She is also a director at the Hampstead Theatre. She lives in London with her family.
A.S. King has been called “One of the best Y.A. writers working today” by the New York Times Book Review. She is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school and university students. After more than a decade living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania.