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Author of the Month

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah was born in Birmingham in the West Midlands. He is one of the pioneers of the performance poetry scene in Britain. He was part of the ‘school’ known as the ‘Dub Poets’. These were poets that work alongside reggae music, but even when this poetry is performed without music the listener can still hear the musicality. He has spent most of his life performing around the world in schools, universities, concert halls, and in public spaces.

His mother is from Jamaica and his father is from Barbados, but he spent a lot of time listening to the Jamaican spoken poetry of his mother. He then started to create his own poetry, first performing at the age of 8 in church, and then in African and Caribbean community centres. His  poetry is noted for mixing serious issues with humour, and being accessible to a wide range of people. He is able to perform in children’s nurseries or political rallies, and his strongest area of interest is looking at how poetry works in performance and its relationship to music.

He has also written poetry for children, novels for young adults, and plays for radio and stage. Although his music is rooted in reggae, his recordings now have many influences including, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Dubstep. He contributes to many radio programmes and has presented documentaries on radio and television concerning literature, culture, race and politics.

He is the patron of 35 organisations, including Haven Distribution, which sends books to prisoners. Aik Saath, which helps to bring together young people of all and no faith. Inquest, an organisation that supports the families of those who have died whilst in custody, and The Vegan Society of Britain. The Chinese Women's Refuge, and Acorns Children's Hospice. Although he came to academia via an unusual route, he is currently visiting professor at De Montfort University Leicester, and Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Brunel University.

New from Benjamin Zephaniah

Windrush Child - Benjamin Zephaniah

In this heart-stopping adventure, Benjamin Zephaniah shows us what it was like to be a child of the Windrush generation. Leonard is shocked when he arrives with his mother in the port of Southampton. His father is a stranger to him, it's cold and even the Jamaican food doesn't taste the same as it did back home in Maroon Town.

Voices reflects the authentic, unsung stories of our past. Each shows that, even in times of great upheaval, a myriad of people have arrived on this island and made a home for themselves - from Roman times to the present day. Perfect for teaching children about inclusivity and diversity.



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