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Benjamin Zephaniah - Author

About the Author

Poet, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah was born on 15 April 1958. He grew up in Jamaica and the Handsworth district of Birmingham, England, leaving school at 14. He moved to London in 1979 and published his first poetry collection, Pen Rhythm, in 1980. Benjamin Zephaniah is an internationally renowned performance poet and acclaimed author of bestselling YA novels: FACE, GANGSTA RAP, TEACHER’S DEAD, REFUGEE BOY and TERROR KID.

He has been Writer in Residence at the Africa Arts Collective in Liverpool and Creative Artist in Residence at Cambridge University, and was a candidate for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. He holds an honorary doctorate in Arts and Humanities from the University of North London (1998), was made a Doctor of Letters by the University of Central England (1999). Benjamin lives in Lincolnshire.

Featured books by Benjamin Zephaniah

Talking Turkeys

Talking Turkeys

9+ readers

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/08/1995

Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.  A thought provoking and wide reaching collection of poetry for children that explodes from the page begging to be read aloud.  

ebook of the month

Other books by Benjamin Zephaniah

Nature Trail A joyful rhyming celebration of the natural wonders on our doorstep

Nature Trail A joyful rhyming celebration of the natural wonders on our doorstep

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

A joyful celebration of nature and the wonder of the world around us by legendary poet and performer Benjamin Zephaniah, one of The Times' top 50 British post-war writers. At the bottom of my garden, there's a hedgehog and a frog, And a lot of creepy-crawlies living underneath a log . . . All around us, from parks to gardens and flowerpots to pavements, there's a world of wonder just waiting to be discovered. Why not look a little closer and see what you find? This joyful celebration of nature reminds us all to take a closer look at the world around us, and enjoy the wonder of nature wherever we find it. Packed with animals and minibeasts galore, this imaginative rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud.

The Little Book Of Vegan Poems

The Little Book Of Vegan Poems

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/12/2020

Funky Turkeys

Funky Turkeys

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 29/05/2019

Brought to you by Penguin. Enter the crazy world of rap poet Benjamin Zephaniah! Funky Turkeys is the first audio edition of Benjamin Zephaniah's poetry collection for children - playful, clever and provocative - this is performance poetry on the page at its very best. An unconventional collection of straight-talking poems about heroes, revolutions, racism, love and animal rights, among other subjects, that will entice many new readers to poetry. Poems in this audiobook were first published in Funky Chickens and Talking Turkeys.

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah The Autobiography

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah The Autobiography

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/05/2019

Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Benjamin's poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations and on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, and to popularise it by reaching people who didn't read books. His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the world (a feat which he achieved in only one year) and he hasn't stopped performing and touring since. Nelson Mandela, after hearing Benjamin's tribute to him while he was in prison, requested an introduction to the poet that grew into a lifelong relationship, inspiring Benjamin's work with children in South Africa. Benjamin would also go on to be the first artist to record with The Wailers after the death of Bob Marley in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela. The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah is a truly extraordinary life story which celebrates the power of poetry and the importance of pushing boundaries with the arts.

Funky Chickens

Funky Chickens

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2018

Enter the crazy world of rap poet Benjamin Zephaniah! A reissue of the wonderfully irreverent collection of poetry for young people, touching on anything from vegetables to the Queen and from sewage to the sun. There's plenty of humour as well as poems on racism, pollution and the murder of a cat.

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah The Autobiography

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah The Autobiography

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/05/2018

*BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week* Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Benjamin's poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations and on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, and to popularise it by reaching people who didn't read books. His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the world (a feat which he achieved in only one year) and he hasn't stopped performing and touring since. Nelson Mandela, after hearing Benjamin's tribute to him while he was in prison, requested an introduction to the poet that grew into a lifelong relationship, inspiring Benjamin's work with children in South Africa. Benjamin would also go on to be the first artist to record with The Wailers after the death of Bob Marley in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela. The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah is a truly extraordinary life story which celebrates the power of poetry and the importance of pushing boundaries with the arts.

Gangsta Rap World Book Day 2018 edition

Gangsta Rap World Book Day 2018 edition

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/02/2018

WORLD BOOK DAY 2018 EDITION `Not for a long time have I read a book with such a pick me up again factor' - Independent on Sunday Just what do you do with talent from the wrong side of town? Benjamin Zephaniah draws on his own experiences with school and the music business to create a novel that speaks with passion and immediacy about the rap scene. Ray has trouble at home, and he has trouble at school - until he's permanently excluded and ends up sleeping on the floor of a record shop. What happens to a boy like Ray? If he's lucky, maybe he gets a chance to shine. The story of three boys who aren't easy. They don't fit in. They seem to attract trouble. But they know what they want, and they've got the talent to back it up ... Brilliantly written and with a real ear for dialogue, fans of Angie Thomas and Malorie Blackman will love Benjamin Zephaniah's novels for young adult readers: Refugee Boy Face Gangsta Rap Teacher's Dead

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