A Tribute to Benjamin Zephaniah

In this special event, poet Michelle Scally Clarke, Colin Grant and Alex Wheatle explore the poetry, music and legacy of Benjamin Zephaniah.

Poet, novelist, playwright, musician, actor, TV and radio presenter, and professor of creative writing, Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, from his first collection Pen Rhythm (1980) to inspiring a generation of rappers with his Reggae and Dub Poetry recordings. He also wrote children’s and YA books; his novel Refugee Boy was adapted for the stage by our Festival Patron Lemn Sissay. https://benjaminzephaniah.com/


About the contributors

Michelle Scally Clarke is a poet, author, actor and playwright. She has worked alongside poetry greats from Lemm Sissay and Linton Kwesi Johnson to Benjamin Zephaniah himself. She is the author of two memoirs: I Am and She Is. Originally a theatre actor, she has toured her plays, First Cut and Suitcase throughout Yorkshire schools, and was commissioned by the NHS to write, tour and film a play: Jeans, Whose Genes?

Colin Grant is the author of six books. They include: Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, and a group biography of the Wailers, I & I, The Natural Mystics. His memoir, Bageye at the Wheel, was shortlisted for the Pen/Ackerley Prize, 2013. Grant’s history of epilepsy, A Smell of Burning, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year 2016. Grant’s Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation, was a BBC radio 4 Book of the Week Grant is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Director of WritersMosaic, a division of the Royal Literary Fund. His latest book is a memoir: I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be.

Alex Wheatle spent most of his youth in the notorious Shirley Oaks children’s home and his youth was portrayed in Oscar Award-winning director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. His first novel, Brixton Rock, was published in 1999 to critical acclaim and was followed by further YA and adult novels and memoirs. He has won several awards and in 2008 was awarded MBE for services to literature. His latest book is the memoir: Sufferah: Memoir of a Brixton Reggae Head.

HYBRID EVENT – this is a Hybrid event, which can be attended in person at the venue or accessed online. This event listing is for the In Person event.

Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: info@huddlitfest.org.uk with your request.

Date: Saturday 27 April

Time: 4.30pm-5.30pm

Venue: Small Seeds, Castlegate (New Street junction), Huddersfield HD1 2UD

Tickets: £5, online tickets: £2

Age Guidance: 16+

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/small-seeds