Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition 2009

Carol Ann Duffy, the new Poet Laureate, is to chair the judging panel for a worldwide poetry competition for 7-11 year olds. The Competition is organised by the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society. To link with National Poetry Day on Thursday 8 October, children will be asked to write a poem in English on the theme of ‘Heroes and Heroines’.

Now in its fourth year, the competition is open to both individuals and schools. Cash prizes of £250 for first prize, £100 for second and £50 for third will be awarded, along with books and CPB memberships, in two age groups, 7-8 year-olds and 9-11 year-olds. Entries will be accepted from Thursday 10 September, up until the closing date of Monday 19 October. The winners will be announced at a gala celebration in London in December.

The British Council partnership, established last year, will continue to encourage entries to the ‘International Learner category’ for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language.

The Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition will encourage children to write poems of their own and help teachers to bring poetry alive in the classroom. A teacher’s guide to accompany the competition will be available to download from the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf website ( from early September, along with further information about the competition.

Carol Ann Duffy is joined by a distinguished panel of people who either write poetry for children or are passionate about it: John Agard, poet and playwright, whose Young Inferno has just won the 2009 CLPE Poetry Award; Antonia Byatt, Director of Literature Strategy at Arts Council England; Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales, playwright and translator; Janetta Otter-Barry, Publisher of Janetta Otter-Barry Books, an imprint of Frances Lincoln; and Roger Stevens, poet, author, musician and founder of the Poetry Zone website.

The Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition is generously supported by Old Possum’s Practical Trust.

For further information about the Competition please contact:
Hilary Davidson email
or Chris Holifield email
at the Poetry Book Society tel 020 7833 9247

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