Chris Smith & Joseph Coelho (c) Daniel Mellors
The Waterstones Children’s Laureate (2022-2024), Joseph Coelho, has today revealed that his smash-hit ‘Poetry Prompts’ will return on 11 September for a stellar second year – and featuring a raft of special guests.
Poetry Prompts – in partnership with the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, BookTrust, who manage the Laureateship – is an epic celebration of the power of poetry in all its forms. Through weekly videos, the award-winning performance poet, playwright and children’s author shows the joy that writing, reading and performing poetry can bring to our lives.
As a new school year begins, Coelho will continue with his mission to inspire a nation of poets – and is joined by an array of special guests including Shini Somara, David Atherton, Chris Smith, MC Grammar, Nicola Davies, Konya Kanneh-Mason and Jenny Graham with further stars to be announced.
From 11 September, the new series of bitesize videos – each lasting under ten minutes – will be shared on the BookTrust website each Monday morning, providing a fun and engaging resource for teachers to share during registration time to help inspire students to pick up a pen and start writing their own poem. Each prompt is accompanied by free, downloadable resources – created in collaboration with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education – for schools, libraries and at home to encourage further learning and exploration of poetic form and literacy. Coelho has been a patron of the CLPE since 2019.
The first ‘Poetry Prompt’ guests joining Joseph are:
- Shini Somara, engineer and author of Engineers Making a Difference (What on Earth Books) joins Joseph on the 11th of September to construct a brain-teasing, mesostic poem
- David Atherton, winner of The Great British Bake Off in 2019 and author of My First Baking Book: Delicious Recipes for Budding Bakers (Walker Books), joins Joseph on 18th of September to serve up some food-based poetry
- Chris Smith, co-author of Super Ghost (Puffin) and former BBC Radio 1 presenter joins Joseph on 25th of September to recite some superhero-themed poetry, DJ style!
- MC Grammar, the nation’s favourite rapping teacher and star of Sky Kids’ smash, ‘Wonder Raps’ joins Joseph on the 2nd of October to freestyle verse
- Nicola Davies, 2023 CLiPPA Awards ‘Highly Commended’ recipient for her book Choose Love (Graffeg) joins Joseph on the 9th of October to share poetry from the heart
- Konya Kanneh-Mason, rising star classical musician from the hugely talented Kanneh-Mason family, joins Joseph on the 16th of October to infuse piano accompaniment with poetry craft
- Jenny Graham, endurance cyclist and the fastest woman to cycle around the world, joins Joseph on the 23rd of October to show how you can use your own passions to inspire poetry
Following the start of the new ‘Poetry Prompt’ series and National Poetry Day (5 October), Coelho is set to release the perfect companion book – Poetry Prompts: All sorts of ways to start a poem (Quarto/Wide Eyed Editions, 12 October 2023, 7+) – an illustrated compendium full of tips, tricks and guides for children to craft, perform and enjoy their own creations.
Celebrating poetry is at the heart of Joseph Coelho’s two-year tenure as Waterstones Children’s Laureate, the foremost representative of children’s literature. He has met with The Queen Consort – in an interview released on World Poetry Day – to talk about their shared love of poetry, and ‘Poetry Prompts’ is one of three major initiatives as part of his role. Further details can be found here.
Joseph Coelho, Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2022-24, said:
“Poetry Prompts is my invitation to the nation, young and old, to become poets. We turn to poetry at weddings, funerals and births because it goes beyond mere words and translates the soul. But there is baggage associated with poetry that I want everyone to put down – to allow everyone to reclaim the birth right of poet. So often I’ve met children and adults scared to put pen to paper, terrified of ‘getting it wrong’ – this has repercussions in all aspects of life. I want to show everyone that poetry is for them, that we can enjoy the rules and break the rules.”t