Writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, a “titan of British literature”, has passed away at the age of 65. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago and died with his wife by his side.
Born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham, Zephaniah was dyslexic and left school aged 13, unable to read or write. Despite this, he went on to become a prominent figure in British literature, using dub poetry to bring his work to the forefront.
Zephaniah’s early work was praised for its innovative style and its exploration of social and political issues. He also wrote children’s poetry and novels, including the popular “Talking Turkeys”.
In addition to his literary achievements, Zephaniah also starred in the BBC television show “Peaky Blinders”.
His death has been met with widespread sadness and admiration, with many praising his contribution to British literature and culture.
Zephaniah’s legacy will live on in his writings, performances, and the hearts and minds of those who were inspired by his work.
Zephaniah was also a vocal critic of racism and colonialism. In 2003, he famously rejected an OBE from the British government, saying that he could not accept an honor associated with an institution that had a history of harming people of color.
Zephaniah’s death has been met with widespread sadness and admiration. He was a true pioneer and innovator who left an indelible mark on British literature and culture. His legacy will live on in his words, his performances, and the hearts and minds of those who were inspired by his work.
Here are some of his accomplishments:
- Named one of Britain’s top 50 post-war writers in 2008
- Guest edited an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in 2012
- Nominated for autobiography of the year at the National Book Awards for his work, The Life And Rhymes Of Benjamin Zephaniah
- Shortlisted for the Costa Book Award in 2018
- Recitate one of his poems in a video for the Hay Festival during a Covid-19 lockdown
Tributes pour in for literary titan Benjamin Zephaniah
The Black Writers’ Guild mourns the loss of our beloved founder, Benjamin Zephaniah.
Author Michael Rosen was among those paying tribute to the late Benjamin Zephaniah. He wrote:
Billy Bragg, a renowned singer-songwriter and musician, joined the chorus of voices paying tribute to Benjamin Zephaniah, declaring: