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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.

12 people found this helpful

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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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nothing held back

it was an amazing story of a man who grew up in a life of poverty and violence and overcame it to become an inspiration to many

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Thoughtful and thought provoking

One of the best autobiographies that I've listened to and one that actually gives meaningful insight into the person writing it. BZ outlines the key events and people that have shaped his life. He's honest and frank about his motivations and interests: he's so much more than just a revolutionary poet. His innate curiosity and need to do the right thing shine through. My only tiny criticism is that he doesnt deliver prose as well as he does poetry. Definitely a keeper on my virtual bookshelf.

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best book I've ever listened too

An interesting story of an incredible life and Benjamin's reading makes it all the more interesting