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Kate Tempest: a winning wielder of words | Observer profile

The rapper-cum-poet has achieved an unprecedented double: nominated for the Mercury prize and acclaimed by an august poetry society. Not bad for a woman who used to 'rap at riot cops'

Perfect storm. Thundering success. It never rains but it pours. Lightning strikes twice. Yep, the meteorological puns and weather-based wordplay were out in force last week with the news that street poet, rapper, playwright and impossible-to-pigeonhole polymath Kate Tempest had achieved an unprecedented double.

On Wednesday, it was announced that her hip-hop album Everybody Down had been shortlisted for the Mercury prize. The next day it was revealed that Tempest had been selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of 20 next generation poets, a prestigious list picked just once per decade. The 27-year-old is the youngest of the crop and described herself as "humbled, terrified and proud", adding: "Bit bonkers, isn't it?"

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