Judging the CLPE Poetry Prize


Allie Esiri: I was honoured to be one of the judges, alongside the chair Roger McGough and the writers Tony Mitton and Tony Bradman, of the all-important CLPE Poetry Award – the only UK prize for a book of poetry for children. The shortlist is now announced. I would happily recommend all these books – they are full of joy and will enchant children and adults alike. The winner will be announced in July.

CLPE is a great organisation and I applaud it for the important work it does in supporting poetry. Children love poetry – from nursery rhymes and playground chants to the wonders of verse such as these books nominated below, but poetry needs help getting it off the out-of-the-way shelf in bookshops and libraries. This award helps, a lot.

The press release for the shortlist is:


2015 CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA)

23rd April 2015

Announcement of shortlist for the Award

Launch of new Schools Shadowing Scheme

New venue for Award Ceremony – National Theatre

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) runs the Children’s Poetry Award which is the only award in the UK for published children’s poetry. 

Established in 2003, the annual Poetry Award encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. CLPE is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2015 CLPE Poetry Award which is as follows:

Mandy Coe (editor): Let in the Stars, illustrated by The Manchester School of Art,

The Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University

An anthology in which a wide range of themes is combined with the unconventionalunfolding of individual poems Unexpected points of view abound and contemporarylanguage is considered in several poems.

Joseph Coelho: Werewolf Club Rules, illustrated by John O’Leary, Frances Lincoln

A fresh collection of poems from a new voice which celebrates the joys of everyday life andbeyond and displays a delight in language.

Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles (editors): Give the Ball to the Poet. ANew Anthology of Caribbean Poetry, illustrated by Jane Ray, Commonwealth EducationTrust

A celebration of Caribbean culture and environment is threaded throughout this vibrantanthology alongside the anger and sorrow begotten of the interdependent history ofmigration, slavery and exploitation between the Caribbean and Britain.

Hilda Offen: Blue Balloons and Rabbit Ears, Troika BooksAn appealing collection for young children, illustrated by the poet. Full of fun and rhyme and rhythm and a variety of verse forms, it includes thoughtful themes about nature and history too.

Rachel Rooney: My Life as a Goldfish and other poems, illustrated by Ellie Jenkins,Frances Lincoln

These succinct poems, sometimes darkly humorous and incorporating delicious wordplay,are lessons in how economy of words can lead the imagination to soar.

The judging panel is chaired by the eminent poet, radio presenter and performer, Roger McGough and the other members of the panel are:

Tony Bradman – children’s author and Chair of the Siobhan Dowd Trust

Allie Esiri – creative director of iLiterature Ltd, iF Poems and The Love Book apps and books.

Charlotte Hacking – CLPE Poetry Programme Manager

Tony Mitton – poet and Children’s Poetry Award 2014 winner for Wayland

Roger McGough, Poet and Chair of the CLPE Poetry Award Judges commented: “The judges were excited by the variety and quality of the poetry in the books submitted for this year’s award and a spirited discussion took place before we arrived at our shortlist. However, once again we were sorry that there were not more submissions and that so few publishers are producing poetry books for children and young people. It is essential that organisations such as CLPE continue to highlight the importance of published children’s poetry and give it the status it deserves in schools and in the world of children’s literature.”

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “This award is unique in the support of children’s poetry which at CLPE we believe is a fundamental element in the development of children’s literacy. The award celebrates all forms of poetry and this year we are delighted to be launching our shadowing scheme which will give hundreds of children the opportunity to participate in the award and bring it alive in classrooms across the country. We are delighted and extremely grateful that the National Theatre has agreed to work in partnership to support the award and are looking forward to a wonderful award ceremony where children and professional poets perform side by side in a celebration of this important branch of children’s literature.”

The winner of the 2015 Award will be announced on July 16th 2015 at a ceremony in the new Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre in London. There will be poetry performances by children and the poets and the winner of the Award will receive £1000.

For the first time CLPE is running a shadowing scheme to involve schools in the Poetry Award 2015. This is a great opportunity for primary schools to enhance their literacy curriculum in a fresh and exciting way. As part of the shadowing scheme, a competition will see children from winning schools invited to perform on stage at the Award ceremony. All schools, regardless of whether they are participating in the shadowing scheme, can take poetry into the classroom supported by high quality free resources including films of shortlisted poets performing, the poets talking about their work and accompanying teaching resources. These will be available on CLPE’s Poetryline website (www.poetryline.org.uk).

The CLPE Poetry Award was developed to ensure that children’s poetry has a recognised place within children’s literature. Previous winners of the prize include: Roger McGough, Philip Gross, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, John Agard and Grace Nichols.


Notes to editors 

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education 

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education works nationally to raise achievement in literacy. It is a specialist professional development centre with a national and international reputation for excellence in the fields of language, literacy, assessment and creative learning.

For further information about the award, the shadowing scheme or to download more information about the shortlisted books please visit http://www.clpe.org.uk/page/67 or contact Fatim Kesvani fatim@clpe.co.uk. For further information about CLPE please visit www.clpe.org.uk. For free poetry resources including films of poets performing please visit www.poetryline.org.uk.

CLPE is based at 44 Webber Street, London SE1 8QW. Please direct all enquiries to fatim@clpe.co.uk or contact Fatim Kesvani/ Louise Johns-Shepherd 020 7401 3382/3.

National Theatre, Dorfman Theatre 

The Dorfman Theatre (formerly the Cottesloe Theatre) has been redeveloped. The foyer, which is open daily, also gives public access to the Sherling High-Level Walkway, overlooking the theatre’s backstage workshops, and the Clore Learning Centre. Find out more here: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/venue/dorfman-theatre



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