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The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

17th January 2020
Venue: St Peter's Church, North St, Oundle PE8 4AL
Time: 7.45pm - 8.45pm


Benjamin Zephaniah is a pioneer of performance poetry. His talent as a lyricist and storyteller emerged at a young age, he was unable to read and write at school but managed to overcome adversity to become one of Britain’s most remarkable poets. A vibrant music scene in the form of roots reggae and the sound system culture of the 1970s provided the backdrop to a teenage life that was, at every turn, encountering institutional racism.

Benjamin now speaks candidly of his time living outside the law, and how he broke away from the path his schoolteachers told him was inevitable. His mission was to take poetry everywhere. With the flame of creativity burning inside him, he came to London and emerged as a uniquely dynamic performer, when punks and rastas were fighting Thatcherism and the National Front in the 1980s.

Nelson Mandela formed a close friendship with Benjamin after hearing his musical tribute to him recorded with The Wailers – the first artist to do so after the death of Bob Marley.

He was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008.

Benjamin is also an award-winning playwright, a novelist, political activist and musician. He has written several novels for teenagers and is an outspoken campaigner for human and animal rights. He has appeared on long-running BBC radio and TV programmes, such as Desert Island Discs and Question Time, and continues to record and release albums with his reggae band.

Benjamin will be in conversation with Sophie Raudnitz talking about his thought-provoking autobiography, The Life And Rhymes Of Benjamin Zephaniah. Published in May 2018 this book was shortlisted for the National Book Awards and the Costa book Awards. He will talk about how he fought injustice and discrimination to lead a remarkable life and will share a selection of favourite stories and poems. 

Benjamin will be signing copies of The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah at the end of the talk.


Tickets £10 (£8), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 10th January, available from the Oundle Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle.

Open hours: 10.00am – 1.00pm Mon to Fri: Tel 01832 274734, online at www.oundlefestival.org.uk

Any queries call Helen on 07743988181 or email oundlelitfestival@hotmail.co.uk