The Brixton Bard and another Tap Natch Poet

Whilst most writers give talks at bookshops and libraries, Brixton-born Jamaican writer Alex Wheatle (acclaimed author of the cult classic Brixton Rock and the more recent Island Songs) is a regular speaker at schools and prisons. Inspiring young offenders and students with his background and story and encouraging them to read books and express themselves through their own writing, last year he was awarded an MBE for his services to Literature.

Here, with a taste of the kind of talk he gives at schools, he offers a glimpse of how he went from nervous schoolboy to amateur MC to making a name for himself as The Brixton Bard on the performance poetry circuit before becoming an acclaimed novelist. The clip ends with his memorable lyrics about the Brixton uprising.

It is a great lyrical poem  – I love the rhythm and the sound of the Jamaican accent. I’m not usually a reader of poetry but this reminds me of the time I saw Linton Kwesi Johnson read his poems some years ago at an event during Black History Month. I was so captivated by the sound and rhythm of his words I bought his book: Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. One of my favourites – “If I Woz a Tap Natch Poet” – and you can listen to him read it here. Enjoy.

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity Manager

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