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Callout for Nottingham's Young Poet Laureate

3 May 17 words: Alex Kuster

On Friday 28 April the hunt for Nottingham’s next Young Poet Laureate began. After the success of Nottingham’s Poetry Festival, the UNESCO City of Literature is out to get the youths of the city involved. And it’s right easy to apply, just get yersen down to the Nottingham City of Literature website and show ‘em your skills.

If you’re aged 18-30 and have mad skills with the old A, B, Cs, you have until the end of June 2017 to send in a personal statement or a short film about yourself that tells of your work as a poet. Explain why you want the role and what you’d do with it, and include two poems with one about the mothership (aka Nottingham). A panel of judges will then assess the applications and agree to a new Young Poet Laureate.

The judge panel is made up of:

Panya Banjoko: Nottingham-based writer, poet and patron of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature

Caleb Femi: Poet and English teacher, Caleb was named the first Young People’s Laureate for London, and is focussed on re-engaging disenfranchised young people through poetry.

Sandeep Mahal: Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Sandeep a strong background in libraries and is passionate about transforming people’s lives through literature.

Henry Normal: Nottingham born comedian, screen producer, poet and founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival. Henry is a Patron of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.

Debris Stevenson: Founder of the former Mouthy Poets collective, Debris has taken her poetry from the streets of Camden to Shanghai, via the US and BBC Radio. She is currently developing her debut show, Poet in da Corner while teaching the Roundhouse Poetry Collective.

A shortlist will be announced in July, with the successful poet announced on National Poetry Day, Thursday 28 September 2017.

The new YPL will then embark on a two-year paid tenure which will involve the following: five youth-focused residency workshops at Lakeside Arts, City Arts and Hyson Green Library as well as other venues in the city.

It’s a big and definitely beneficial move for Notts, one that many are supporting. Debris Stevenson says:

“It's about investing in the next generation of writers.”

“Nottingham's young voices need to be heard nationally and internationally, its literary and cultural heritage is rich and relevant on an international scale, and I look forward to seeing this programme, not just invest in the one young person being appointed, but the wider body of young people that step forward to apply.”

Right then, we’re in. Pass us a pen, duck.

Nottingham City of Literature website

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