London writer development agency Spread the Word is looking for the next Young Poet Laureate for London.
The age range of the Young Poet Laureate programme has been extended this year, with poets aged 21 to 30 now eligible. Applicants have to be living in a London borough.
The new laureate will succeed Aisling Fahey, from Walthamstow, who is currently undertaking a residency in the Olympic Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as it prepares to host the Rugby World Cup.
Fahey said: “In my year as Young Poet Laureate, I have worked with primary school students in Walthamstow, pensioners in Camden, older women writers in the London Irish Centre, and workmen in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Along the way, I’ve even performed for the Irish President in a line-up including Carol Ann Duffy. Not many people can say they’ve worked in such a variety of settings within one year. I have loved being able to connect with such a wide variety of communities in London, helping people from all over the capital discover how best to tell their stories through poetry.”
Ruth Harrison, director of Spread the Word, said: “The Young Poet Laureate for London programme is fantastic at discovering, and showcasing, some of the best emerging poetic talent coming from and giving voice to London. We’re looking forward to working with this year’s poets – seeing how they develop and the range of exciting and engaging opportunities they will be part of.”
The Young Poet Laureate for London is supported by Foundation for FutureLondon, a charity created to help realise the potential of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Claire Gevaux, creative director of the Foundation for FutureLondon, said: “Our role is to enable the future cultural and academic led regeneration of east London. In doing this we recognise that stories will need to be told and journeys will need to be travelled. The Young Poet Laureate programme provides these opportunities through guidance and support for the next generation of talented artists. After completing their stories and their journeys, they are able to confidently proclaim ‘I am a poet’. We’re proud to have been the catalyst for the incredible talent and creativity that has emerged through the programme so far. We can’t wait to see how it evolves this year.”
An advisory panel will select a shortlist of 15 applicants who will be invited to a workshop selection day. From this group of 15, six finalists will then be invited to take part in a week-long residential workshop.
The selection panel will choose the next Young Poet Laureate for London from this final six.
The new Young Poet Laureate for London will be announced on Wednesday 7th October, the eve of National Poetry Day.