Benjamin Zephaniah at Hay

Just catching up with one of the Hay Festival sessions. This time it’s the wonderful poet Benjamin Zephaniah talking about his new book ‘Windrush Child’ (pub Scholastic) to Gemma Cairney. It’s always joyful to hear him talk – currently waving an ‘I love Birmingham’ mug at the camera. He says he’s seriously dyslexic and that being referred to as writer rather than a poet, makes him nervous. He’s keen to have black history taught in schools but also episodes of white history that needs to be told. ‘We are all told one story,’ he says, ‘it’s our duty to dig deeper and tell our own stories.’

His final words of the session are from an old Jamaican saying: ‘Each one teach one.’ If a slave learned to read, it was their duty to teach another slave to read.

Congratulations to Benjamin on being awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Poetry 2021.

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