BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Posted on: 25th September 2014
On 28th September, before a packed audience at Ealing Central Library the Writing, Acting and Publishing Project for Youngsters (WAPPY) in partnership with Hot Key Books and CCS Libraries on behalf of the London Borough of Ealing, hosted a child-centred and public dialogue with internationally acclaimed poet, author, musician and activist, Benjamin Zephaniah.
WAPPY’s patron, Eric Huntley, contributed to the opening welcome, and before the interviews, WAPPY members, Cassius Jackson – Callen entertained with his stand-up comedy routine. Also, Honey Ryder read her award – winning Christ The Saviour CofE Primary school 2013 Poetry Slam poem, ‘I'm Afraid of Blank Paper’ and ‘Jai Blue’ performed her own song, ‘Crush’, before the book – signing opportunity.
Benjamin Zephaniah with WAPPY in Ealing, September 2014
Fifteen members who undertook research on Benjamin Zephaniah and were specially trained in several the Lottery funded Building Bridges workshops, interviewed Benjamin on themes ranging from his inspiration for writing, his personal politics and Rastafari faith, his favourite writer and poem, being a vegan and his love for animals, and about the characters in his latest novel, Terror Kid. Benjamin answered each question openly and generously, with plenty of humour and intuitiveness, sprinkled with examples of his lyrical style.
The event ended with the author signing books and offering photo opportunities with all who queued up patiently to meet and chat with him.
Benjamin Zephaniah writes: On the 28th September I did an event with the writers group, WAPPY, at Ealing Central library. It was a special event in many ways. As the patron of the organization, Eric Huntley, pointed out in his welcoming speech, we were just down the road from Ealing Hospital where there is a ward named after me. It was also special because the last time I got together with WAPPY they came to me at Keats House (2011), where I was Poet in Residence but this time they were hosting me!
I did feel a little like African royalty, as I was seated on stage, with people all around me, but the moment the event started we were one. It would have been easy for an event like this to be all about me, but much of the pleasure was mine. After Eric Huntley shared his wisdom with us, (and it was a pleasure seeing him after many years), the young people of WAPPY proceeded to perform poems, sing songs, and even perform comedy, in a well organised and professional manner. I think there is something very special about the passion of these young people; the fact that they do this in their spare time, and are creating their own work speaks for itself.
There was then a great selection of questions from the young people, questions that ranged from the art of writing to international politics, with one question coming from an extraordinary young girl who read my book in three days, which I thought was absolutely amazing! Since meeting her I have been telling people about her, and they all think I’m exaggerating, which I can understand. As I said on the day, I wrote the book, and I don’t think I could read it in three days!
In my humble opinion WAPPY is full of creative passionate people, from the elders to the youngster, so I wasn’t that surprised by the welcome I received, and the show that they put on. I was just pleased that we shared this event with members of the public, so that they could see what is possible when young people get together and get creative.
Thee WAPPY Trustees wish to express their appreciation to Benjamin Zephaniah for affording the WAPPY youngsters the opportunity to interview him and to be photographed with him by Duane Jay Photography.. We also thank the Big Lottery, Hot Key Books, especially Rosi Crawley, Karen Henry of Cultural Community Solutions on behalf of Ealing Libraries and local Ealing businesses (Tesco Metro, Morrison's, IBA Colourview, Knight, Sound and Light and Duane Jay).
To read more about Terror Kid, see this link: www.hotkeybooks.com/books/detail/terror-kid
If you wish to find out more about WAPPY visit via: www.wappy.org.uk
COMMENTS FROM A WAPPY INTERVIEWER, SOME PARENTS & SOME PARTNERS/SUPPORTERS:
Benjamin Eshun (16 years) "It was a privilege to have been able to interview Mr. Zepheniah. His answer to my question really helped me to shed some light my question. I asked if his beliefs in the Rastafarian movement have had a big influence in your style of writing?"
Benjamin Eshun, WAPPY Member
Lillia Nelson, Parent of Kyra Nelson, the 8 year old who read Terror Kid in 3 days
"Kyra was excited by the Terror Kid story as it was an area she has never explored in her reading. She empathised with the characters and was able to put herself in their shoes and figure what could happen next. "Thanks to Grace Quansah and WAPPY, she had a great time chatting with and interviewing Benjamin Zephaniah...the great poet, author, artiste..he's gave a great inspiring performance...and signed his new book, Terror Kid."
Sara Edwards (WAPPY Parent)
"My partner Nathan and I just wanted to commend you on a really wonderful event on Sunday. We thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. The WAPPY members and team really impress us each time we go to one of the events you so fantastically put on. How great to have Benjamin on board with what you are doing. On a daily basis young people get a bad name in the media, and what you are doing really sends out a strong message to the community; our children can soar given the right encouragement and opportunities. It makes me sad when I know of children that haven't been encouraged and don't have confidence in themselves, or haven't caught on to how wonderful they are, how capable they are to make a difference and do something great.
I went to the Black Cultural Archives recently and saw none other than the late Jessica Huntley represented there in the exhibition about black women in the UK. I was so in awe! How wonderful then that Mr Eric Huntley is involved at such a level with WAPPY. I really admire what you do, and if there is any way I can help you, please let me know."
Sara Edwards, Isla Heath's mum
Rosi Crawley, PR Manager, Hot Key Books
"We had a brilliant event with Benjamin Zephaniah and WAPPY members, with creative input from the members who were all brilliantly excited to meet Benjamin. The organisation is clearly doing great work and we were delighted to team up with them on this showcase of both their work and Benjamin's new novel."
OCTOBER HIGHLIGHTS: BLACK HISTORY MONTH
To celebrate Black History Month we will be hosting a number of special events throughout the Borough, from author talks to drumming sessions, there is something for everyone.
Library membership is FREE. Sign up email@example.com
Somali storytelling session with Richard Neville
Southall Library Dominion Centre
Saturday 25 October, 11.00am - 12.00 noon
Saturday 25 October, 2.00 - 3.00pm
Richard Neville is a local storyteller who works with community groups in London to collect and record stories. Join Neville to hear animal fables from Africa. Find out how the Fox borrowed the Crocodile’s Tongue! Hear about the Mouse that fell into a pot of gold! Take part in a fun, interactive session with music and stories.
Admission: Free, book in advance
Ages 6yrs old +
Meet the creator of Rastamouse, Michael De Souza
We are delighted to announce a special visit by the creator of the hit children series ‘Rastamouse’ who will be visiting Hanwell and Acton libraries. De Souza will be in to discuss his creation along with an interactive storytelling session.
Thursday 23 October
Hanwell Library, 10.30 - 11.30am
Acton Library, 2.30 - 3.30pm
Admission: Free, book in advance
ACD Art Drumming Sessions
Tuesday 28 October, 12.30 - 1.30pm
Northolt Leisure Centre Library
ACD Art Drumming Sessions
Tuesday 28 October, 3.30 - 4.30pm
ACD Arts Storytelling Sessions
Thursday 30 October, 11.00am -12.00noon
ACD Art Storytelling Sessions
Thursday 30 October, 2.30 - 3.30pm
Jubilee Gardens Library
All events are free, please book in advance with respective libraries.
Community Stock Consultation
Saturday 11 October, 1.00 - 5.00pm
Southall Library Dominion Centre Library
Dreadlock Alien spoken word event
Thursday 23 October, 2.30 - 3.30pm