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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.

 

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)

Featured books by Benjamin Zephaniah

Other books by Benjamin Zephaniah

The Little Book Of Vegan Poems

The Little Book Of Vegan Poems

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/11/2018

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: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2018

*BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week* 'The Life and Rhymes has a performative quality reminiscent of Zephaniah's poetry - honest, unshowy and ultimately unthreatening. It matches the man.' The Guardian 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.

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

Face

Face

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/01/2018

In the moving and compelling debut novel from Benjamin Zephaniah, a young man's life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a car accident. Martin seems to have it all. He's cool, funny, and he's the undisputed leader of the Gang of Three, who roam their East London estate during the holidays looking for fun. But one night after the Gang leave a late night rap club, Martin accepts a ride from Pete, a Raider's Posse gang member. Too late, he realises that the car is stolen, and that the police are after them. What happens next will change Martin's life and looks, and show him the true meaning of strength, courage, discrimination and friendship. 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

Teacher's Dead

Teacher's Dead

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2017

For young people dealing with ideas in a post-truth world, Benjamin Zephaniah's story of violence, truth and the media is as powerful and pertinent as when it was first published. A teacher is dead, murdered by two of his students in front of the whole school. Right in front of Jackson Jones. But Mr Joseph was a good man - people liked him, respected him. How could those boys stab him and jog away like nothing had happened? Unable to process what he has seen, Jackson begins his own investigation: everyone knows who did it, but as Jackson uncovers more about the boys, he becomes convinced that people need to understand why. 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

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/09/2017

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

Refugee Boy

Refugee Boy

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Acclaimed performance poet and novelist Benjamin Zephaniah's honest, wry and poignant story of a young refugee left in London is of even more power and pertinence today than when it was first published. Life is not safe for Alem. His father is Ethopian, his mother Eritrean. Their countries are at war, and Alem is welcome in neither place. So Alem is excited to spend a holiday in London with his father - until he wakes up to find him gone. What seems like a betrayal is in fact an act of love, but now Alem is alone in a strange country, and he must forge his own path ... 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

Peace Inside A Prisoner's Guide to Meditation

Peace Inside A Prisoner's Guide to Meditation

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/04/2017

This moving book provides an inside-view of life in prison, and people's remarkable ability to make sense of their lives there as they learn to meditate. Drawing on years of intimate correspondence between prisoners and charity workers of the Prison Phoenix Trust, it traces prisoners' struggles through the harshest of circumstances to find authenticity, friendship and hope. This is not only an empowering guide for those in prison, but a testament to the liberating power of peace, which, in spite of all obstacles, can be unlocked within us all.

Talking Turkeys

Talking Turkeys

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2015

One of the coolest poets for children, Benjamin Zephaniah's Talking Turkeys has something to say! Talking Turkeys is the very first ground-breaking children's poetry collection from street poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Playful, clever and provocative, this is performance poetry on the page at its very best.

Terror Kid

Terror Kid

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/04/2015

Rico knows to stay away from trouble as best he can. But he's angry and frustrated at the injustices he sees happening at home and around the world. He wants to do something - but what? When he is approached by Speech, a mysterious man who shares Rico's hacktivist interests, Rico is given the perfect opportunity to speak out. After all, what harm can a peaceful cyber protest do...?

Rollercoasters: Teacher's Dead

Rollercoasters: Teacher's Dead

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 26/03/2015

A teacher is stabbed outside school by a student. Jackson, a young boy who witnesses the stabbing, goes on a personal quest to find out the motives behind the attack. Over the course of the investigation, Jackson forms an unlikely friendship with the victim's wife, has to face the murderer's mother and confronts the school bullies and their victims. Through all of this he invites the reader to reflect on the many factors that contribute to a crime being committed, and how we view crime. This Rollercoasters school edition of Benjamin Zephaniah's gripping novel is published in a durable flexi-cover format, proven to last longer in the classroom.

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: Mixed media product Release Date: 21/03/2013

is a film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. It 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. All the poems and songs from the film and videos are included in the accompanying book.

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'.

Liam

Liam

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2012

The photo was small. I clicked to enlarge it. It was upside down. I clicked to rotate it. Then I stopped. As I stared into the computer screen I couldn't believe what I saw. A handsome, tall black man, with very short hair, wearing a black suit. He had on a pair of those small round glasses that clever people wear, and he looked so happy. Liam's life is going well. He's done okay in his GCSEs; he's getting pretty good at playing the guitar. If he could just persuade Amy Zyskowski to go out with him, everything would be perfect. Oh, and if he could find out who his real parents are... *Help Key Stage 3 students move from Level 3a to Level 4c in reading. *Support comprehension with fascinating and contemporary illustrations. *Encourage shared and guided reading using the ready-made tasks and discussion points on the activity pages at the back of the book.

Kung Fu Trip

Kung Fu Trip

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/02/2011

Benjamin Zephaniah decides he has had enough of London. So he takes off to China, specifically to Shaolin Temple, the spiritual home of martial arts and kung fu. Benjamin wants to take on an instructor who will teach him more about kung fu. But finding a good instructor is difficult, and the instructor he does finally locate is not only called 'Iron Breath' but also proves a very hard taskmaster . . . An extraordinary snapshot of Benjamin's life plus Benjamin's own views on politics, Buddhism, kung fu, vegans and much else. But this is also a fascinating insight into China itself, and the huge variety of people who Benjamin meets - who react very differently to the appearance of a Rasta in their midst: on occasions even fainting or bowing to Benjamin, thinking he is a god!

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

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.

J is for Jamaica

J is for Jamaica

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah, Prodeepta Das Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/01/2009

From Cricket to Pumpkin, from Hummingbird to Yam - this is a photographic alphabet showing Jamaica in all its colourful diversity. In vibrant rhyming verse, Benjamin Zephaniah explores some of the sights, sounds and tastes of Jamaica, from the bustling capital of Kingston, to the peaceful and serene Blue Mountain. A perfect way to introduce children to this small and beautiful Caribbean island with a big heart.

Theatre Centre Plays for Young People - Celebrating 50 Years of Theatre Centre

Theatre Centre Plays for Young People - Celebrating 50 Years of Theatre Centre

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah, Anna Reynolds, Anna Furse Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/11/2003

Listen to your Parents by Benjamin Zephaniah explores a boy's love of football and poetry in a family struggling with domestic violence. Gorgeous by Anna Furse deals with eating disorders and pressures on modern women in contrast to their victorian forebears. Precious by Angela Turvey asks how you stop being a graffiti artist and become a serious artist? How do you grow up? Look at Me by Anna Reynolds explores difficult behaviours in and out of school. Souls by Roy Williams shows 3 brothers coming to terms with their mother's death, while sibling rivalry continues to damage their relationship. Glow by Manjinder Virk portrays a teenage girl who becomes a boxing champion against the wishes of her father.

Too Black, Too Strong

Too Black, Too Strong

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/09/2001

Addresses the problems of Black Britain. This work includes poems written, while the author was working with Michael Mansfield QC on the Stephen Lawrence case and other high profile political trails. It is hard hitting and blackly funny.

Wicked World!

Wicked World!

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/08/2000

A brand new brilliant collection from the ground-breaking poet, Benjamin Zephaniah. His verse explores people and places, cultures, nationalities and tribes. Includes poems about Inuits, Celts, the history of Britain, Maories, the Dalai Lama, the North and South Poles, and much more - a real tour of the world.

Funky Chickens

Funky Chickens

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/07/1997

A second irreverent collection of poetry for children 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.

Propa Propaganda

Propa Propaganda

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

Rasta meets Rap in the work of this popular black British poetA master of oral and performance art, Zephaniah has been heard in readings from Palestine to Argentina, in schools, colleges, clubs, prisons, theaters, and music revues. He has released several records, including one with Bob Marley and the Wailers. His plays have been widely performed, and he has presented, appeared in, or been the subject of, numerous TV programs, including the East Enders. His other poetry books include The Dread Affair and City Psalms (Bloodaxe/Dufour).

City Psalms

City Psalms

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/1992

Face: The Play

Face: The Play

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah 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.

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

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

The story of three boys who aren't easy. Who don't fit in. Who know what they want. When Ray and his friends are permanently excluded from school, their headmaster gives them a final chance. Within weeks they form a rap group and within months they sign a record deal. As competition from a rival group intensifies the gangsta style gets mixed up with real gangster action. An accessible read with a hard-hitting plot which 'leaves the reader no choice but to be drawn in' - particularly reluctant boy readers. Perfect for exploring different kinds of speech, language and the poetry of rap.

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