S&S scoops Zephaniah’s memoir

S&S scoops Zephaniah’s memoir

Scribner will publish Benjamin Zephaniah’s “truly extraordinary” life story which celebrates “pushing boundaries with the arts”.

The Simon & Schuster imprint acquired The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, a memoir by the writer and activist and it will be published in hardback on 3rd May next year.

Simon & Schuster’s non-fiction commissioning editor Nicola Crossley acquired world rights, including e-book and audio, from Robert Kirby and Jodie Hodges at United Agents.

An S&S spokesperson has described how Zephaniah’s “mission was to take poetry everywhere, and to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books”.

By the early 1990s, the writer had performed on every continent in the world, all within one year, according to the publisher with Nelson Mandela requesting an introduction which grew into a lifelong friendship.

Crossley described the memoir as a "truly extraordinary life story which celebrates the power of poetry and the importance of pushing boundaries with the arts".

She added: “I am delighted to be working with Benjamin to tell his story."

Rowan Cope, associate publisher of Scribner, said: “I am thrilled that Nicola is bringing the legend of British letters and activism Benjamin Zephaniah to the Scribner list. She will publish him with great passion and flair.”

Zephaniah revealed the book is an “autobiography and a social history” and that he is “angrier” than he has ever been about the injustices in the world.

He said: “They say you mellow with age, but, if anything, I’m angrier than I’ve ever been. There is still injustice, there is still hate, there is still intolerance.”

He added: “The Life and Rhymes is about the race riots, the struggle to free Mandela, my career as writer and poet, and much more. It charts my course through a changing political and cultural landscape.”

Zephaniah has sold 193,125 books for £1.09m according to Nielsen BookScan.