The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah at the RNCM Theatre

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester 23 June 2018 Tickets from £20 — Book now

The so-called “people’s laureate” Benjamin Zephaniah visits the RNCM as part of his first UK tour in eight years, which culminates in an appearance at this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival at the end of the month. The event – which will include readings, a chat and a Q&A with the audience – coincides with the publication, in May, of his autobiography The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah. Out on Simon & Schuster, signed copies of the book will be available to buy after the show.

Originally hailing from Birmingham, Rastafarian Zephaniah left school aged 13 unable to read and write, but is now firmly established as one of the country’s leading poets. He was poet in residence at the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC at the time of the Stephen Lawrence case and other high-profile political trials, which translated into his 2001 Bloodaxe-published collection Too Black, Too Strong, and he has written books for children and young adults. Never one to shy away from controversy, his life – which has seen him befriend Nelson Mandela, fight in the 1980s race riots, record with Bob Marley’s former band, The Wailers, famously turn down an OBE and, more recently, appear in the BBC’s Peaky Blinders – has shaped his views and his work.

This rare appearance is a chance to hear Benjamin Zephaniah talk about his experiences, as well as sharing some of his favourite stories and poems – from his first poetry collection, Pen Rhythm, which came out when he was just 22, to now, at the age of 60.

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester 23 June 2018 Tickets from £20 Book now

RNCM Autumn Season

The RNCM’s Autumn Season brings with it an incredibly diverse programme of live music from across the genre spectrum. Here are our highlights.

from £8.50

Where to go near The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah at the RNCM Theatre

San Carlo Fumo

San Carlo Fumo may be part of a chain, but it doesn’t feel like it. Right at the top of Oxford Road, it’s lavishly decorated and specialises in cicchetti, or Italian small plates.

Utility Gift Shop
Utility Gift Shop

Utility Gift Shop on Oxford Road is all about products that are new, unique, quirky and cool. High street shopping at its best.

exterior of Contact Theatre building
Contact Theatre

Following a major redevelopment, the iconic venue on Oxford Road will be reopening its doors to welcome the public back into the building this autumn. 

The Salutation pub in Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Salutation

This traditional boozer, surrounded by imposing flats and university buildings, was taken over by Trof (of the Deaf Institute fame). The Sally, as the regulars call it, hosts an energetic, arty crowd – and its recently expanded outside area is another good reason to visit.

MMU Student Union

Manchester Metropolitan University Students’ Union building houses a bar and various other facilities for students and staff.

Music venue
The Deaf Institute

The Deaf Institute is a vibrant gig venue and nightclub for which it is well worth taking a jaunt out of the Northern Quarter.

What's on: Literature

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean
Ghosts at the Old Library

Levenshulme Old Library has commissioned brand-new festive ghost stories from six writers for three special atmospheric lantern-lit reading events after hours in the Carnegie building.

from £10
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Nathan Parker
Verbose at The King’s Arms

One of Manchester’s longest-running monthly spoken word and live literature events, Verbose welcomes two invited headliners to the stage each month, plus a selection of open mic performers.

free entry

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Spotlighting global artists who all, in one way or another, break the mould, we preview the best gigs happening this side of Christmas and beyond.