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Episode 4

My Life in Verse Episode 4 of 4

Malorie Blackman is the first black British writer to have sold over a million books. A prolific author of fiction for children and young people, she is best known for the Noughts and Crosses series, set in a world where current racial divides are turned on their heads. It contains many echoes of Malorie's own childhood and teens, when she struggled to find her own way in the face of preconceptions about what a black girl from South London could and could not do in life. 'Basically,' she says, 'we were considered factory fodder.'

This film is Malorie's account of how poems sustained her at the best and worst of times. There was not much poetry in her family home as her father wanted her to keep her feet on the ground and her head out of the clouds. But she was always drawn to poetry and sought it out - in all its diverse forms. 'It was always one of the first things I would reach for,' she says. She took it where she could find it - from the lyrics of Marvin Gaye to Shakespeare and the Song of Songs in the 1611 Bible. In the 80s, the flowering of black British poetry came as a revelation, setting her on the road to becoming a novelist herself.

In this film she finds out more about the poems and poets - dead and alive - who have inspired her, from William Blake and Benjamin Zephaniah to Miles Coverdale and Jackie Kay.

1 hour

Last on

Fri 19 Jun 2009 21:30
BBC Two Scotland

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Role Contributor
PresenterMalorie Blackman
DirectorMark Halliley
ProducerIan MacMillan