Valerie Bloom has won the 2022 CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award), the UK’s premier award for published poetry for children for her collection Stars with Flaming Tails, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max (Otter-Barry Books).
Michael Rosen, who won last year with On the Move Poems About Migration, made the announcement at 3.00pm today, Friday 8 July, at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall at the climax of the exuberant CLiPPA Poetry Show.
Stars with Flaming Tails is a beautifully varied collection with poems on family, friends and animals.
Poet Philip Gross, chair of the judges, said ‘Stars with Flaming Tails is like a passport to the whole world, and beyond. This is poetry that can go anywhere, from the personal to the planetary, the surreal to the scientific, with its invitation to us all to look, and to laugh, to listen to our feelings, and to think. And meanwhile, almost without noticing it, we’re being handed the keys to the craft of writing for ourselves.’
Valerie Bloom has written and edited several volumes of poetry for children and adults, receiving an MBE for services to poetry in 2008, but this is the first time she has won the CLiPPA.
The CLiPPA is the liveliest of all book awards and the Poetry Show featured performances from Michael Rosen and all six poets shortlisted for the award as well as children from schools across the country. Former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell illustrated proceedings live from the stage.
An audience of 900 watched the event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall while hundreds of schools across the country joined in watching the CLiPPA via livestream.
The 2022 shortlist reflects the extraordinary vitality of the UK’s poetry publishing for children. Publisher of Stars with Flaming Tails, Otter-Barry Books, had two other books on the list, Being Me, a collection of poems dealing with worries and anxieties by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha and Caterpillar Cake, also by Matt Goodfellow, a book of read-aloud poems for the very young. Birmingham-based The Emma Press is represented with Cloud Soup, a new collection from the 2017 CLiPPA winner Kate Wakeling, and Manjeet Mann makes the shortlist for the second year in succession, this time with her Costa Book Award winning verse novel The Crossing, published by Penguin.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive at CLPE said, ‘Valerie’s inspiring collection invites children to engage with poetry in so many different ways and speaks beautifully to all realms of human experience. It deserves to be in every book corner and library in the land. After the difficulties of the last two years it has been such a joy to celebrate this amazing shortlist with live audiences and at each event we have seen the enthusiasm and excitement for poetry bubble and fizz. Children’s poetry is such an important but often underrated literary form and we could not be more delighted to be celebrating the very best of poetry for children at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with such an enthusiastic and engaged audience.’
Valerie Bloom receives a trophy and a cheque for £1000. As part of the prize she will also be recorded for the prestigious National Poetry Archive.
The CLiPPA is delivered in partnership with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and supported by Arts Council England.
Find out more about the CLiPPA and the Shadowing scheme.
The five books on the shortlist are:
Stars with Flaming Tails by Valerie Bloom, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max, Otter-Barry Books.
Being Me Poems about Thoughts, Worries and Feelings by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha, illustrated by Victoria Jane Wheeler, Otter-Barry Books
Caterpillar Cake by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Krina Patel-Sage, Otter-Barry Books.
Cloud Soup by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Elina Brasliņa, The Emma Press.
This year the judges are poets Nikita Gill and John Lyons; Director of the Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University Becky Swain; and Charlotte Hacking, Learning and Programmes Director at CLPE. Philip Gross, poet and former professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Wales, is chair of the CLiPPA 2022 judging panel.