December 7 2023

Benjamin Zephaniah: Writer, poet and Peaky Blinders actor dies aged 65

Writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah has been remembered as a “titan of British literature” after his death aged 65.

He died early on Thursday with his wife by his side after being diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago, a statement on his Instagram said.

Benjamin Zephaniah: Writer, poet and Peaky Blinders actor dies aged 65, Steven McIntosh, BBC News

One of Britain’s most prolific literary voices, Zephaniah was credited with creating “dub poetry”, with the words recited over the beats of reggae music. An outspoken political activist, his work dealt with themes of racism, poverty, and social injustice.

Born in Birmingham on 15 April 1958, Zephaniah was the son of a postman from Barbados and his mother was a nurse from Jamaica. Diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, he left an approved school unable to read or write at the age of 13.

Benjamin Zephaniah death: British writer and poet known for his work on race and racism dies, aged 65, Maanya Sachdeva, Independent

Benjamin was a hero to millions of people all over the world. His mix of poetry, novels, wisdom, humour and sheer presence grabbed us and delighted us. I first saw him when he was starting out in the poetry clubs, dancing a poem about his mother, voicing his poetry in a voice I hadn’t heard before: Brummie-Caribbean. It was an honour and treat to work with him many times over the years, on videos, radio programmes, and when he MC’d an award ceremony run by the British Council for the best examples of English teaching. Then and often elsewhere, he loved reflecting on his journey from being a semi-literate teenager, getting into trouble, to someone feted at the highest levels for his literary achievements and force of personality.

‘A hero to millions’: Benjamin Zephaniah remembered by Michael Rosen, Kae Tempest and more, Michael Rosen, The Guardian
November 17 2023

AS Byatt: Author, critic and poet dies aged 87

Novelist, critic and poet Dame AS Byatt has died at the age of 87, her publisher has announced.

The renowned writer, whose full name was Antonia Susan Byatt, won the Booker Prize for her 1990 novel Possession.

In a statement, Penguin Random House said they were “deeply saddened” to announce her death.

They described her as “one of the most significant writers and critics of our time”.

AS Byatt: Author, critic and poet dies aged 87, Steven McIntosh, BBC News