Clippa (CLPE) Poetry Award!
I received a wonderful invitation to go and see the announcement of the CLIPPA 2015 – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award, on 16th July.
This prestigious award is tragically the only one given to an author for a children’s poetry book, or an editor for a children’s anthology.
The ceremony was held in the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre on the South Bank in London.
I arrived in London at Paddington Station as usual. It was nice to see Paddington in a nearby garden. I introduced Lola to him. He introduced himself.
I was reliably informed that anyone who is anyone in children’s poetry was at the ceremony. I know this is an exaggeration as I know quite a few people who are quite wonderful in children’s poetry who were not… but it gives you an idea of the guest list!
Here below are Gaby Morgan (Editorial Director 6+ of Macmillan Publishing, who has supported and published children’s poetry practically single-handedly through many years of doldrums). As you can see, Lola is a big fan of hers. In the middle and on the right, my lovely friends Michaela Morgan and Rachel Rooney.
Rachel was short-listed for the award this year, and won the award two years ago with her book The Language of Cat.
The chairman of the judges and master of ceremonies was Roger McGough. Each poet came on stage and read one of their poems from their short-listed book – the poets nominated for single-voice books were Rachel Rooney, for her book My Life as a Goldfish (Frances Lincoln), Joseph Coelho, with his book Werewolf Club Rules (Francis Lincoln) and Hilda Offen for her book Blue Balloons and Rabbit Ears (Troika Books).
These books were illustrated by Ellie Jenkins, John O’Leary and the multi-talented Hilda Offen herself.
Two anthologies were shortlisted, Let in the Stars, edited by Mandy Coe, (The Manchester Writing School, Dept. of English, Manchester Metropolitan University) and Give the Ball to the Poet, edited by Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles (Commonwealth Education Trust). Poems from these two anthologies were read by Louise Greig and Valerie Bloom respectively.
The anthologies were illustrated by The Manchester School of Art and Jane Ray.
In between each reader (and oh, the readings were wonderful!) children from a number of schools that had shadowed the shortlisted books also read poems. They were FABULOUS! I did a lot of blubbing, let me tell you, for the sheer joy in the performances was very moving.
The contenders were very strong, the judges must have had a hard time choosing – but the winner this year was Joseph Coelho! Well done, Joe!
Now, I have to say that talking to interesting people, balancing wine and holding on to a bag and a dog is not easy. Consequently, I did not take many photos. In fact, I only got one other apart from the one above and that is the one below. Pretty dreadful.
But it does show a very happy Joseph Coelho on the left there!
Apart from the honour of joining past winners who include Rachel Rooney, Philip Gross, John Agard and Grace Nichols, Joe won £1,000 and a specially bound copy of his book by Mark Cockram – I saw this, it was beautiful!
All in all a wonderful celebration of children’s poetry which included poems, illustrations, publishers, editors and readers and fans!