Newham Bookshop logo (2015)

Thursday 7 November
at The Wanstead Tap

A Modest Living

Suresh Singh
A Modest Living

In conversation with
Stefan Dickers

Come and see our
new Bookshop at
743-745 Barking Road


Events information & tickets: select Events from the menu below or in the Forthcoming Events column on the right.

Regional Winner

Friday 7 December at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap


Doreen Fletcher, Paintings
The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephamiah
is published in hardback by Scribner at £20.

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Shortlisted for the
2018 Costa Biography Award

Event sold out within an hour!

The Wanstead Tap logo

Great range of beers and sophisticated soft drinks
Benjamin Zephaniah
Photograph of Benjamin Zephaniah by Adrian Pope

We are delighted to welcome Benjamin Zephaniah, a long friend and supporter of Newham Bookshop, to The Wanstead Tap.

Benjamin Zephaniah
The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

In conversation with local activist Cilius Victor

Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life.

In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Benjamin’s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations and on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, and to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books. His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant.

By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the world (a feat which he achieved in only one year) and he hasn’t stopped performing and touring since. Nelson Mandela, after hearing Benjamin’s tribute to him while he was in prison, requested an introduction to the poet that grew into a lifelong relationship, inspiring Benjamin’s work with children in South Africa. Benjamin would also go on to be the first artist to record with The Wailers after the death of Bob Marley in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah is a truly extraordinary life story which celebrates the power of poetry and the importance of pushing boundaries with the arts.

The Life and Rhymes has a performative quality reminiscent of Zephaniah’s poetry – honest, unshowy and ultimately unthreatening. It matches the man.” – The Guardian.

“Vivid, frank and to the point, yet bristling with compassion, this is a rousing romp through a life less ordinary and a timely reminder of art’s redemptive force.” – Mojo magazine.

“His singular career has spanned poetry, music and activism, with detours into acting and academia. And he’s really lived a life less ordinary – from teenage jailbird to celebrity role model, embraced by the British Establishment, even if he hasn’t always reciprocated. His scepticism about the necessity of his memoir, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, is unfounded.” – The Scotsman.

“This is a beautifully penned and highly entertaining account of an intriguing life, opening us up not just to Zephaniah’s story but to a wide range of topics arising out of it… tackled with down-to-earth honesty and insight, not to mention an element of gentle humour and self-effacement.” – Morning Star.

“Retaining a humility and humour that belie his extraordinary rise from street gang to cultural touchstone… Zephaniah is one of the rare voices that manages to remain determinedly outside the Establishment (he famously turned down an OBE) yet is embraced by it… a riveting read worthy of a Netflix drama.” – iNews.

Forthcoming events


Thursday 7 November at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

Suresh Singh
A Modest Living
Memoirs Of A Cockney Sikh

In conversation with Stefan Dickers

Friday 22 November at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

John Crace
Decline and Fail
Read in Case of Political Apocalypse

Friday 29 November at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

Raymond Antrobus,
Salena Godden
& Nikita Gill

Wednesday 4 December at 7.30 pm
at The Wanstead Tap

Daniel Sonabend
We Fight Fascists
The 43 Group and Their Forgotten
Battle for Post War Britain

In conversation with Michael Rosen

Past events and news


An Evening with
Lucinda Dickens Hawksley
Part of Redbridge Fabula Festival 2019

Eleanor Crow
Shopfronts of London
In conversation with Krissie Nicolson

Lucy O’Brien
Janette Mason and David McAlmont
Dusty in Words and Music

Carl Cattermole
Prison: A Survival Guide
In conversation with Deborah Coles

Jenni Murray
A History of the World
in 21 Women

Daniel Rachel
Don’t Look Back In Anger
In conversation with Paolo Hewitt

Esther Rutter
This Golden Fleece
A Journey Through
Britain’s Knitted History

Book Benefit for the
homeless in Newham

Launch party for
Luan Goldie
Nightingale Point

Ronnie le Drew
Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi
Zippy and Me

David Rosenberg
Rebel Footprints
in conversation with Asad Rehman

Pete Brown
Pie Fidelity
In Defence of British Food

Carol Ann Duffy
Poetry for the Insect Population
with Andrew McMillan, Matthew Hollis, Imtiaz Dharker, Zaffar Kunial,
Mark Pajak, Hannah Sullivan,
Sean Borodale, Ella Duffy
and Yvonne Reddick

David Hepworth
A Fabulous Creation
How the LP Saved Our Lives

5x15 on The Future of Education
with David Kynaston, Priya Lakhani, Alex Beard, Owen Jones,
Melissa Benn and Kate Clanchy

Cold War Steve
The Festival of Brexit
in conversation with Martin Rowson

Lucinda Gosling
Shirley Baker and Vintage Britain

Robert Elms
London Made Us
A Memoir of a Shape-Shifting City

Newham Word Festival logo
Michael Rosen
with Danny Braverman

Newham Word Festival logo
Bobby Seagull
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers

Newham Word Festival logo
Suresh Singh
with Stef Dickers

Newham Word Festival logo
Duncan Barrett
Hitler’s British Isles

Newham Word Festival logo
Kate Thompson
and Melanie McGrath

Newham Word Festival logo
Regeneration Songs

Newham Word Festival logo
Asian Noir:
the new wave of crime fiction

Luke Turner
Out of the Woods

Danny Dorling
Rule Britannia
Brexit and the End of Empire

Doreen Fletcher, Paintings
with The Gentle Author

Benjamin Zephaniah
The Life and Rhymes
of Benjamin Zephaniah

in conversation with Cilius Victor

Peggy Seeger
First Time Ever

E. Foley and B. Coates
What Would Boudicca Do?

Bobby Seagull
The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers

Will Ashon
Chamber Music
Enter the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)

Robin Ince
I’m a Joke and So Are You
A Comedian’s Take on
What Makes Us Human

Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate
The Inking Woman

Iain Sinclair
Living with Buildings

1968 and After:
Culture and Education

An evening with
Shami Chakrabarti and Rachel Holmes

Martin Rowson
The Pen is Mightier Than the Word

Ed Vulliamy
When Words Fail

Marcus Sedgwick & Dr Sam George
The Battle of the Books:
Frankenstein v. Dracula

Kenney Jones
Let the Good Times Roll

Ben Okri and special guests
Rise Like Lions

Adam Dant
Maps of London & Beyond

Sarah Ivens
Forest Therapy

Shore 2 Shore
with Carol Ann Duffy
Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay
and Maura Dooley, with music by John Sampson

Viv Albertine
To Throw Away Unopened

Melanie McGrath
Pie & Mash Down the Roman Road
in conversation with Duncan Barrett

James Bloodworth
Hired
Six Months Undercover
in Low-Wage Britain

Chris Difford
Full Acoustic Show
Some Fantastic place

Michael Rosen
So They Call You Pisher!

David Hepworth
Uncommon People
The Rise and Fall of the
Rock Stars 1955-1994

Liam Young and Simon Hannah
The Labour Party, past and present

Misha Glenny: McMafia
Seriously Organised Crime

Helen Pankhurst: Deeds Not Words
The Story of Women’s Rights,
Then and Now

Laura James and Jessie Hewitson discuss autism

Literary Natives
Writers of Colour Meet Up

John Davies: The Red Atlas
How the Soviet Union
Secretly Mapped the World

Please look in our Archive,
in the main menu.