Malvern Festival of Ideas: Benjamin Zephaniah & Liz Berry

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Event Description

Benjamin Zephaniah and Liz Berry have a chat. Poet, writer, lyricist, musician and actor, Benjamin Zephaniah in conversation with award-winning Black Country poet, Liz Berry, about racism, Black Liberation, revolution and the purpose of poetry.

Benjamin Zephaniah cannot remember a time when he was not creating poetry. His poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls ‘street politics’. By the time he was 15 he had developed a strong following in his native Birmingham where he had established a reputation as a young poet who was capable of speaking on local and international issues. In the early eighties, Zephaniah’s poetry could be heard on demonstrations, at youth gatherings, outside police stations, and on the dance floor. It was once said of him that he was Britain’s most filmed, photographed, and identifiable poet. The mission was to take poetry everywhere: he was out to popularise poetry by reaching people who did not read books, and those that were keen on books could now witness a book coming to life on the stage. This poetry was political, musical, radical, relevant and on television.

Liz Berry’s debut poetry collection, Black Country, ‘a sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian), won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. In her latest work, The Home Child, a novel in verse, she reimagines the story of her great-aunt Eliza Showell, one of the many children forcibly emigrated to Canada as part of the British Child Migrant schemes.

Saturday 4 March 2023


Malvern St James Girls School


Malvern St James Girls School

15 Avenue Road


WR14 3BA

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