CLiPPA shortlist celebrates diversity in children’s poetry

CLiPPA shortlist celebrates diversity in children’s poetry

The six books shortlisted for this year’s CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) showcases the diversity of both the poets and the publishers working with the medium, according to the organiser.

“The shortlist is wonderfully diverse this year because there are a more diverse range of voices in poetry,” said Louise Johns-Shepherd, c.e.o. of Centre For Literacy In Primary Education (CLPE). “And there are such as range of publishers submitting, from big companies to tiny independents.”

This year’s shortlist features former CLiPPA winners Joseph Coelho, who is in the running for Overheard in a Tower Block (illustrated by Kate Milner and published by Otter-Barry Books), and Sarah Crossan, with her YA verse novel Moonrise, (Bloomsbury Children’s). Coelho and Crossan won the prize in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The previous winners will compete against established poet John Agard (shortlisted for The Rainmaker Danced, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura and published by Hodder Children’s Books), and new voices Sue Hardy-Dawson, with her first solo collection Where Zebras Go (Otter-Barry Books), and Karl Nova, a hip-hop artist who is in the running with his first published poetry collection Rhythm and Poetry (illustrated by Joseph Witchall and published by Caboodle Books).

The final book on the shortlist is Rising Stars, a collection of poems by the emerging writer-performers Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama (Otter-Barry Books, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, Elanor Chuah and Joe Manners).

Johns-Shepherd said the number of publishers submitting rose this year from nine to 19. Submissions also increased, from 19 books last year to 32 titles this year.

The judging panel, led by the poet Grace Nichols, will now choose a final winner, who will be announced at a ceremony at the National Theatre on 22nd June. The winner will receive a cash prize of £1,000.

CLPE has also launched this year’s shadowing scheme and is inviting schools to follow the prize with their pupils. Videos of the poets performing their work, as well as teaching resources, are available on the prize's website. Shadowing schools can also apply for free tickets to attend the award ceremony.