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Diversity in Children’s Literature 3: Alex Wheatle and AM Dassu

Alex Wheatle spent most of his childhood in the notorious Shirley Oaks children’s home near Croydon, spending many lonely hours reading comics. His first novel, Brixton Rock, was published to critical acclaim by BlackAmber Books in 1999, and his novel Crongton Knights won the Guardian children’s fiction award and the Renaissance Quiz Writers’ Choice Award. The Humiliations of Welton Blake is a laugh-out-loud tale of the disasters that happen to Welton when he asks the best-looking girl in the school out, and she says yes… but then his phone breaks and everything goes wrong.

A. M. Dassu writes fiction and non-fiction. She is the Deputy Editor of SCBWI-BI’s Words & Pictures magazine and a Director of Inclusive Minds, a unique organisation for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature. Her widely-acclaimed novel Boy, Everywhere, which tells the story of a young Syrian refugee’s journey to the UK, is one of the Guardian’s, Bookriot’s, BookTrust’s and CLPE’s Best Children’s Book of 2020, it features on Amnesty’s ‘Books That Inspire Activism’ list, and was given a Kirkus Star. A. M. Dassu has used her publishing deal advances for Boy, Everywhere to assist Syrian refugees in her city and set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee/recently immigrated writer.

Alex Wheatle and A. M. Dassu join Deirdre O’Byrne to read from and talk about their books and the issues they address, and about cultural diversity in children’s books in general.

Although this event is not aimed specifically at an audience of children and young people, they may well find it of interest.

Tickets: £3, £7.99 with a copy of Boy, Everywhere, £7.99 with a copy of The Humiliations of Welton Blake, £15.50 with a copy of both books – register via Eventbrite.

Supported by Lottery funding from Arts Council England.

Thanks to Bounce Marketing, who helped us find publishers and authors to take part in this series.

This event will have BSL interpretation provided. PLEASE NOTE: because of the way Zoom works on an iPad, you will not be able to see the BSL interpretation during the talk if you’re using an iPad – please use an alternative device to view the webinar.