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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

Being Cool Band 10 White/Band 17 Diamond

Being Cool Band 10 White/Band 17 Diamond

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/01/2014

Written by award-winning author, poet and performer Benjamin Zephaniah, this modern story follows Jaden's first few weeks at his new secondary school. As two rival groups of boys both befriend Jaden, the pressure mounts - who will he choose and does he really want to be part of a gang? * Collins Big Cat Progress books are specifically designed for children at Key Stage 2 who have a Key Stage 1 reading level, giving them age-appropriate texts that they can read, building their confidence and fostering positive attitudes towards reading. * Text type: A story with a familiar setting * Curriculum links:

Funky Turkeys

Funky Turkeys

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: eBook Release Date: 03/06/2013

Benjamin Zephaniah - Funky Turkeys. Rap along with Benjamin Zephaniah to the beat of his unique performance poetry. Hip, zany and streetwise this is an excellent collection from one of our leading modern poets. The poems are taken mainly from the books 'Talking Turkeys' and 'Funky Chickens'. The audio versions vary slightly from the written text in Benjamin's books.

To Do Wid Me Benjamin Zephaniah Filmed Live & Direct by Pamela Robertson-Pearce

To Do Wid Me Benjamin Zephaniah Filmed Live & Direct by Pamela Robertson-Pearce

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/03/2013

Benjamin Zephaniah: To Do Wid Me is both a Selected Poems by Benjamin Zephaniah and a film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. The film shows him performing his poetry for different audiences and talking about his work, life, beliefs and much else. You see him live on stage at Ledbury Poetry Festival, Newcastle's Live Theatre, Hexham's Queen's Hall and Brunel University, and engaging with school children at Keats House in London, where he was writer-in-residence. As well as the main film, the DVD also has a bonus feature: music videos made by Zephaniah with the Beta Brothers. This is a new concept in poetry publishing: not a book with a DVD but a DVD-book. The book supplements the film and includes the texts of all the poems and songs from the film and videos. (But because the DVD is a free giveaway inside the book, it is classed as a book not a DVD so you don't have to pay VAT, hence the great price.) The DVD is PAL format compatible with DVD players in most countries apart from Canada, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan and the United States but playable on laptops produced for those countries.

Refugee Boy

Refugee Boy

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/03/2013

An eye for an eye. It's very simple. You choose your homeland like a hyena picking and choosing where he steals his next meal from. Scavenger. Yes you grovel to the feet of Mengistu and when his people spit at you and kick you from the bowl you scuttle across the border. Scavenger. As a violent civil war rages back home, teenager Alem and his father are in a B&B in Berkshire. It's his best holiday ever. The next morning his father is gone and has left a note explaining that he and his mother want to protect Alem from the war. This strange grey country of England is now his home. On his own, and in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council, he lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear something from his father. Then Alem meets car-obsessed Mustapha, the lovely 'out of your league' Ruth and dangerous Sweeney - three unexpected allies who spur him on as Alem fights to be seen as more than just the Refugee Boy. Based on the novel by Benjamin Zephaniah, Refugee Boy is an urgent story of a courageous African boy sent to England to escape the violent civil war, a story about arriving, belonging and finding 'home'.

Benjamin Zephaniah: My Story Band 17/Diamond

Benjamin Zephaniah: My Story Band 17/Diamond

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/01/2011

Build your child's reading confidence at home with books at the right level Find out what it's like to be a famous poet, author and performer in this autobiography by Benjamin Zephaniah. Learn what it was like growing up in a house of seven children, meeting Nelson Mandela and how he sets about writing poetry, all told through his own voice and accompanied by artwork from Kate Greenaway winning illustrator Victor Ambrus. * Diamond/Band 17 books offer more complex, underlying themes to give opportunities for children to understand causes and points of view. * An autobiography * A timeline on pages 54 and 55 presents the key events in Benjamin Zephaniah's life chronologically, allowing plenty of recapping and further discussion. * Curriculum Links: Citizenship: Living in a diverse world * This book has been quizzed for Accelerated Reader.

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/06/2004

Ray has given up school. He sees no point in education and despises authority. And then he has no choice about school as he is excluded. But Ray also has troubles at home, which means he has nowhere to stay and ends up sleeping in the local record shop, owned by his friend Marga Man. Ray and his friends attend a Social Exclusion Project which means they can develop their music skills. Marga Man gets a record deal for them, and they become local heroes. But another rap band takes a dislike to Ray's music and gang warfare is the result...Based on Benjamin's own troubled experience of school and the music business, his passionate, immediate voice will appeal to all his fans.

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