Highlights of the year - May to December
I become ambassador of Antony Gormley's history making 4th plinth One&other. Two Arvon courses this year in Shropshire and Inverness. In July at London Literature festival I show my film Internal Flight and give the Bookstrust Speech originally given earlier in the year at The Queen ElizabethConference Centre. I show the young people of Virginia tech a tour of Southbank Centre and a group from centrepoint. I curated one of London Literature Festivals most successful sell out events “Benjamin Zephaniah at The Queen Elizabeth Hall.” .
With deborah May of DVD Dance I Filmed, What If, a piece of work inspired by Southbank centre, made and recorded at Southbank centre. It was broadcast on Channel Four and shown at Climate Change conferences throughout the world. It’s over twenty years since first I read at Southbank Centre with then literature officer Moira Dooley. Now Rachel Holmes at Southbank centre forms a formidable team with Martin Colthorpe and the literature programme is so strong.
Geraldine Collinge the producer from Apples and Snakes leaves for Stratford Upon Avon and Ruth Borthwick becomes the new head of The Arvon Foundation. I return to South Africa in July, by invite of The National Festival of The Arts, to The Grahamstown Festival and then to Johannesburg’s Market Theatre with my play Something Dark. Maggie Atkinson previously head of The Association of Directors of Children’s Services becomes The Childrens Comissioner. Maggie is a friend who was originally an English teacher in Huddersfield.
Throughout the year I am punctual at every reading wherever in the world. This year I Judged the Foyles young poets competition. The prize giving was held at Southbank Centre on National Poetry Day. Also I launched Global Poetry Systems at Southbank Centre an online user generated resource with google maps.In November I am made a doctor of Letters at The University of Huddersfield bestowed by Chancellor Patrick Stewart. In November I make a bbc radio documentary called Child of The State in which I try and reclaim memory but find my files are lost in the iron mountain. In December theend of seventeen years silence from Bloodaxe books.
My “Poems As Landmarks” project grew with new pieces of work at Southbank centre throughout the year and launched in Toynbee studios in December. I recently joined Warren Lakin and Mike McCarthy of Variety lives for live events. The year ends with my film What If shown at The Earth exhibition in The Royal Academy alongside Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. And finally JudeKelly the artistic director of Southbank Centre and my residency sponsored by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has made all of what is here possible and the following. In six hours time I shall be named an MBE for services to literature.