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Summary

Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2018

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. 
 

©2018 Benjamin Zephaniah (P)2018 Simon & Schuster UK

What listeners say about The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

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Who Knew?!

I’ve listened to enough audio books by now to recognise that my voice sensitivity is real so for someone like me the quality of narration can be a vexed subject.

When I listened to the sample , I wasn’t enamoured with Ben’s narration ,if I’m honest it sounded a bit wooden . I got the book anyway because i thought he’d have a tale or two to tell.

I’m so glad that I did.This man has been living a life . He readily acknowledges his engagement in the darker corners of street life and the price he paid.Colourful, totally candid and utterly heartfelt I can do no more than commend this story of a man who with good reason is unapologetically himself. Long may it continue.A beautiful story.

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I’ve never listened so intently

Thank you Benjamin. Thank you to Adam Buxton for making me aware of Benjamin. I feel as though I relate in so many ways.

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Fascinating, absorbing

I was enthralled throughout. The story is told with vivid clarity, great honesty. It brings Benjamin Zephaniah’s life and the fascinating time he has lived through to life in a way that I found totally absorbing. And he comes across as a wise, principled, erudite and lovely man.

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what a legend

Love Benjamin Zephaniah's work so much. very Inspirational and uplifting. A true legend and with such Talent

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full of surprises but also everything I hoped for

What a naughty boy BZ was at times, however when he talks us through his incredibly tough youth and young manhood his illegal behavior almost seem reasonable response to an unfair world this beautiful and gentle man found himself forced to inhabit.
Lincolnshire is lucky to have him.
Bless BZ

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fantastic

fantastic start to finish
brought alive by the author narrating
wpuld give 100 starts if possible

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Inspirational and thought provoking

I downloaded the audio book because I had seen the play “Refugee Boy”., I didn’t know much else about the author. This is simply the best autobiography I have ever listened to. A great orator and a very thoughtful voice. Thank you.

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What a life

Outstanding, what a life this guy has led. A truly inspiring read (listen). Benjamin, has such a fantastic way with words and his poems have inspired millions but this book has inspired me. You can do anything as long as you put the effort in.

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Compulsory listening

Everyone should listen to or read this. I am horrified that I was growing up just down the road, albeit 10 years later, with no idea of how hard my country was making the lives of the people they had asked to help. The story of how Benjamin Zephaniah grew out of this situation and continues to follow his dream needs to be heard.

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A privilege to have found this book

I am so glad that I discovered this masterpiece on Audible! To hear Benjamin’s own story read by himself has had an overwhelming impact upon me. In my ignorance I have only ever thought of him as a street poet who has found a truly effective way over the years to express his strong feelings of anger/concern/rebellion about the injustices in our society. It was an eye opener to me to discover the effectiveness that his words and music has had in so many areas of the world (not just in Britain) where injustice is still rife…all areas that I have wept and prayed over myself many times. Thank you, Benjamin, for telling your story! It has had a huge impact on me and I will not forget it! And his reflections upon life in Jamaica helped me to relive so many happy memories of my years of teaching in Morant Bay…a young white woman living amongst wonderful pupils in the 70s, who taught me far more about life and wisdom than I ever taught them about mathematics!