Dr Benjamin Zephaniah
Award-winning poet, novelist and playwright
Poet, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah grew up in Jamaica and Birmingham and published his first poetry collection, Pen Rhythm, in 1980. He has been Writer in Residence at the Africa Arts Collective in Liverpool, Creative Artist in Residence at Cambridge University and holds academic honours from universities around the UK. In 1998, he was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education to advise on the place of music and art in the National Curriculum. In addition to his published writing, he has produced numerous music recordings and has appeared as an actor in several television and film productions. One of his plays Hurricane Dub was a winner of the BBC Young Playwrights Festival Award in 1998 and his radio play Listen to Your Parents, won the Commission for Racial Equality Race in the Media Radio Drama Award. He became a patron for Futureversity in 1996.
‘I saw the start of Futureversity and I have watched its growth with pride. Its work is practical and not full of convoluted theories, it is built on a simple idea that encourages ideas. I support Futureversity because I can see that it really works, more importantly young people can actually see that it works, they are proof that it works, in fact they make it work. This is about our future, this is about us and our possibilities.’
Benjamin, December 2011