Uprising with SmallAxe sticker.jpg

Uprising: As Portrayed on SMALL AXE, A Collection of Five Films
by Alex Wheatle

This is the gritty but inspiring true story of the award-winning author Alex Wheatle.

Alex had a tough start in life. He was abandoned by his family as a young child and grew up in a care home. After being expelled from school as a teenager, he was sent to live in a hostel in Brixton.

There, Alex found music and friends but he also got mixed up in drugs and violence. When he was sent to prison for taking part in the Brixton Uprising, Alex’s future seemed hopeless. But then something happened to change his life…

‘I know how it feels to grow up without any hope. I also know too well what it’s like to grow up with very little expectations around you. I served a short time in prison in 1981 and without much else to do, I took up reading... I read about lives that had much worse starts than I did. I found a belief in myself that was previously never there.’


Alex Wheatle, author of Uprising

ISBN: 9781908713100

Look Inside

Read the first two chapters:

What do you think?

The book includes ‘What do you think?’ questions that will help readers to better empathize with the characters of the story and questions that encourage personal reflection, such as:

  • What do you think is the best way to deal with feeling really embarrassed?

  • What could you work hard at? What might happen if you got really good at it?

  • How could you help a friend who is going through a really tough time?

  • What makes a good dad?

  • If you were a DJ, what would you call yourself and why?

Themes in the book

Readers could be encouraged to discuss and reflect on the following themes:

  • living in care

  • what makes a ‘home’

  • what makes a ‘family’

  • friendship

  • revenge

  • dealing with name calling and insults

  • coping with feeling nervous or embarrassed

  • being a team player

  • the importance of education

  • the importance of family

  • choice and personal responsibility

About the author

Alex Wheatle is one of the UK’s most popular Black British authors. He has written books for adults and teenagers, including the critically acclaimed Brixton Rock, Liccle Bit and Crongton Knights. In 208, he was awarded an MBE for services to literature and, in 2016, he won The Guardian’s children’s fiction prize.