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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

Propa Propaganda

Propa Propaganda

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/09/1996

Propa Propaganda was Benjamin Zephaniah's second collection from Bloodaxe. First published in 1996, it includes some of his classic poems, such as 'I Have a Scheme', 'The Death of Joy Gardner', 'White Comedy' and 'The Angry Black Poet'. Best known for his performance poetry with a political edge for adults - and his poetry with attitude for children - he was the first person to record with the Wailers after the death of Bob Marley, in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela, which Mandela heard while in prison on Robben Island. He has published three other poetry books with Bloodaxe, City Psalms, Too Black Too Strong and To Do Wid Me (a DVD-book including a film portrait by Pamela Robertson-Pearce). His autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, was published by Scribner in 2018.

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
City Psalms

City Psalms

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/12/1992

City Psalms was Benjamin Zephaniah's first collection from Bloodaxe back in 1992. It includes some of his best-known poems, including 'Dis Poetry', 'Money' and 'Us and Dem'. Best known for his performance poetry with a political edge for adults - and his poetry with attitude for children - Zephaniah has his own rap/reggae band. He has produced numerous recordings, including Dub Ranting (1982), Rasta (1983), Us and Dem (1990), Back to Roots (1995), Belly of de Beast (1996) and Naked (2004). He was the first person to record with the Wailers after the death of Bob Marley, in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela, which Mandela heard while in prison on Robben Island. Their later meetings led to Zephaniah working with children in South African townships and hosting the President's Two Nations Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1996. His first book of poems, Pen Rhythm, was produced in 1980 by a small East London publishing cooperative, Page One Books. His second collection, The Dread Affair, was published by Hutchinson's short-lived Arena imprint in 1985. He has since published three collections with Bloodaxe, City Psalms (1992), Propa Propaganda (1996) and Too Black Too Strong (2001), the latter including poems written while working with Michael Mansfield QC and other Tooks barristers on the Stephen Lawrence case. To Do Wid Me, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce (Bloodaxe Books, 2013), includes a full-length feature film on DVD with all the poems performed on the film included in the book.

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/05/1970

An accessible urban story of grit and of hope.

Face: The Play

Face: The Play

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah, Richard Conlon Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/05/1970

Benjamin Zephaniah and Richard Conlon deal with issues such as prejudice, drugs and disfigurement in this vibrant, gritty adaptation of Zephaniah's bestselling novel for young people.Everything is going Martin's way. The holidays have started, he's got a gorgeous girlfriend and everyone agrees he's the coolest dancer around. But when his world is turned upside down by a crash in a stolen car, he has to come to terms with more than his facial injuries...This is a powerful, exciting and accessible play. It contains relevant, gritty, contemporary issues and dialogue. It offers stimulating activities in the book and a free scheme of work available to download on publication.

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