CLPE, the National Poetry Centre for Primary Schools has announced the judges for this year’s CLiPPA, together with plans for the year’s poetry celebrations. The CLiPPA, the CLPE Poetry Award, is the UK’s foremost award for published poetry for children.
Award-winning poet Liz Berry will chair the 2024 judging panel. She is joined by teacher and writer Darren Chetty, Billie Manning of the Poetry Society, Imogen Maund, teacher and UKLA representative, and poet Laura Mucha, who was shortlisted for the CLiPPA in 2022 with Being Me.
Established in 2003, the CLiPPA highlights the best new poetry for children. Past winners include Michael Rosen, John Agard, Jackie Kay, Roger McGough, Valerie Bloom and current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho. The unique CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme brings the poets and poetry on the shortlist into classrooms across the UK and encourages children to perform their favourite poems out loud. CLPE anticipate that over 40,000 children will participate in 2024.
Liz Berry says, ‘I fell in love with poems when I was very young, and that love has never faded. Folk rhymes, funny poems, lush mysterious verse, poems which sound like a party, poems full of the music of feeling… If we’re lucky enough to meet poems when we’re children, we come to them with an open heart and never learn to feel afraid of them but to see them as companions on our journey. The best poetry meets young people where they are and then carries them off to dreams and possibilities. As a teacher, parent and a poet, I love reading and sharing poems with young people and seeing that magic happen. I’m delighted to be chairing the CLiPPA this year (honestly, what poetry job could be more joyful?) and discovering the books which will be enchanting the next generation of dreamers.’
As recently as 2015, judge Roger McGough lamented the lack of poetry books being published for children but this year, encouraged by the huge popularity of the CLiPPA as well as evidence of children’s enjoyment of poetry, as revealed by CLPE research, over 40 new poetry collections were submitted, including a number by publishers new to poetry.
CLPE’s much-praised CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme encourages schools and teachers to grow that love of poetry. Teachers are invited to choose one of the collections shortlisted for the CLiPPA and share with the children using dedicated teaching sequences produced by CLPE as well as videos of poets performing their work. Children choose a favourite poem from a shortlisted collection to work up into a performance, which is recorded and sent to a CLPE judging panel. Winning schools are invited to perform live at the award ceremony. The 2024 CLiPPA Shadowing will open on 8th May, with a live announcement beamed into schools and featuring the shortlisted poets. The award ceremony will be held at the National Theatre on Friday 12th July.
Darren Chetty, former primary school teacher, now teaching at University College, London says, ‘One of my favourite things to do as a primary school teacher was to organise poetry shows. It took very little work, just a good range of children’s poetry and a willingness to photocopy poems that the children themselves selected. The shows were always an emotional rollercoaster – by turns funny, angry, reflective, and silly, with such delight in the sound and feel of words – because that’s what poetry offers children and the rest of us. For twenty years CLiPPA has been helping teachers to keep up with the latest, greatest, poetry collections for younger readers. I’m delighted to be one of the judges this year.’
Rebecca Eaves, CLPE’s new Chief Executive, says, ‘From the earliest nursery rhymes, poetry is an essential part of a child’s journey in reading, writing and oracy. As we enter CLiPPA’s 21st year as the UK’s leading award for published children’s poetry, we’re delighted to have such a brilliant line up of judges, led by Liz Berry, to whittle down our record number of submissions. I can’t wait to celebrate such an abundance of poems with our judges, poets, illustrators and the children they are written for at the National Theatre in July.’
The CLiPPA is delivered in partnership with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and supported by Arts Council England.