What's on Festival Programme Benjamin Zephaniah – The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah Benjamin Zephaniah has said that he ‘lives in two places, Britain and the world’. Today one of our best-loved performance poets, his life began unpromisingly for such a prominent literary figure. A dyslexic who left school unable to properly read and write; a black British Brummie whose teenage years of petty crime culminated in a prison spell, Zephaniah would go on to befriend Nelson Mandela, fight in the 1980s race riots, record radical and relevant reggae music with Bob Marley’s former band, live in Beijing and appear as Jeremiah Jesus in the hot TV show Peaky Blinders. In a compelling, funny and inspiring book, he explains how he fought injustice and discrimination to end up being offered - and rejecting - an OBE and shares a selection of favourite stories and poems. Chaired by Simon Pryde, BBC Newcastle This event has now sold out. Sponsored by katie Kerr Booking for this event has now closed.