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Ambassadors

Take a look at our National Poetry Day Ambassadors, a crack corps of inspiring poets who bring poetry to new and young audiences – in schools, in bookshops, in libraries, in public squares – all year round.

National Poetry Day takes place this year on Thursday 1 October, and the theme is Vision. Start planning your celebrations now, and why not invite a poet to take part to make them really special?

 

  • Simon Mole

    Acclaimed poet and theatre-maker Simon Mole has shared stages with John Cooper-Clarke, Kate Tempest and Simon Armitage.

    Since becoming a father Simon has written increasingly for young people; his first play for children and families was commissioned by the V&A Museum and toured the UK extensively. His first children’s book Kites was published in 2019, and his YouTube channel is home to a popular series of interactive poetry tutorial videos which are used by thousands of teachers and children across the world.

    Simon has over ten years’ experience using rap and poetry in community and education settings, including projects with Great Ormond Street Hospital and Arsenal Football Club. Whether working with vulnerable elders, refugees or primary school children, Simon is a passionate believer that poetry can help anyone grow in self-belief, discover the power in their own voice, and think about the wider change that voice might bring about.

    With a national tour of “Mole & Gecko: The Show” postponed, Simon has been running free online poetry workshops for children and families throughout lockdown. Sign up here for his weekly Tuesday sessions: https://www.simonmole.com/online-poetry-workshops/


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  • Nikita Gill

    Nikita is a British-Indian poet with a world-wide fan-base, who has won praise and the attention of 500,000 Instagram followers for poetry collections and plays that offer a largely female readership the chance to recognise the value of their own experiences.

    She discovered her own poetry vocation as a schoolgirl in New Delhi through reading the work of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost: she now champions the work of others, particularly the new generation of young poets who discovered the power of poetry on-line and are as happy streaming new work as reading it in books. Her latest collection The Girl and the Goddess is due out in September, as is her new anthology SLAM! You’re gonna wanna hear this which is billed by publisher Macmillan as the “perfect introduction to the world of modern poetry”.


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  • Dean Atta

    Dean Atta’s debut poetry collection was shortlisted for the Polari Book Prize. His poems deal with themes of race, gender, identity and growing up and have been read on BBC One’s The One Show, on BBC Radio 4, the World Service and Channel 4. Dean was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. He regularly performs across the UK and internationally. His latest book, The Black Flamingo, is a verse novel for young people.


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  • Kate Clanchy

    Kate Clanchy is a poet, playwright and teacher, as well as being the Forward Arts Foundation official Education Advisor. Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me has been described by Philip Pullman as “the best book on children and teaching and writing that I’ve ever read”. It is the companion volume to England: Poems from a School, an anthology of poetry by her students at Oxford Spires Academy, a state secondary school where 32 languages are spoken.

    She won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1996 and was Oxford’s first City Poet, from 2011 to 2013. She’s also written many radio plays. Clanchy was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2018. Her new book, Grow Your Own Poem: A How-To Book, will be published September 2020.


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  • Michael Rosen

    Michael Rosen is a poet, writer and broadcaster, and held the post of Children’s laureate from 2007-2009.

    Michael Rosen is a hugely bestselling author of picture books and poetry. Michael frequently appears on radio and gives talks and lectures on children’s literature. Michael was the Children’s Laureate for 2007-2009 and the winner of the Eleanor Farjeon Award. He lives in London.


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  • Sarah Crossan

    Sarah Crossan has lived in Dublin, London and New York, and now lives in Hertfordshire. She graduated with a degree in philosophy and literature before training as an English and drama teacher at Cambridge University. Since completing a masters in creative writing, she has been working to promote creative writing in schools.The Weight of Water and Apple and Rain were both shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. In 2016, Sarah won the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as the YA Book Prize, the CBI Book of the Year award and the CLiPPA Poetry Award for her novel, One.

    She is currently Ireland’s Laureate na nÓg, and her lastest novel Toffee is available now.


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  • Tony Walsh

    Tony is a Manchester-based poet working around the UK and internationally, writing and performing for both children and adults. His writing came to worldwide attention with the now iconic performance of his poem “This Is The Place” at the vigil for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017. Tony subsequently performed to a global audience at the One Love stadium concert to raise funds for the victims, whilst licensing the poem to raise approaching £200k for Manchester charities.

    A passionate and inspiring educator, Tony has collaborated to create two picture books for children and has worked in schools, colleges and universities around the UK and as far away at Turkey and Kazakhstan. He was commissioned to write the poem to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BBC’s flagship Blue Peter programme.

    Tony was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Salford, becoming a Doctor of Letters, in 2018 and is delighted to be named as an Ambassador for National Poetry Day 2019.

     


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  • Victoria Adukwei Bulley

    Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet and writer. A former Barbican Young Poet, her work has been commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts, in addition to being featured on BBC Radio 4. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016, and is one of ten poets on the acclaimed UK mentorship programme, The Complete Works. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, edited by Kwame Dawes, forms part of the 2017 New-Generation African Poets series. She is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, a intergenerational poetry, translation and film project supported by Arts Council England and Autograph ABP.

    Follow Victoria on Twitter.


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  • Joseph Coelho

    Joseph Coelho is a performance poet and playwright. He has written plays for companies including: Soho Theatre, Polka Theatre, Theatre Royal York, Oily Cart, The Spark Children’s Festival, Islington Community Theatre, Pied Piper Theatre Company and Pinhole Theatre Company. His plays have received special note from Soho’s Verity Bargate Award and The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition.

    Joseph is writer, performer and co-founder for Word Pepper Theatre Company with author/illustrator/paper-engineer John O’leary. Word Pepper’s debut show The PoetryJoe Show has toured widely up and down the country over the last two years, and was this year joined by their second show Pop-up Flashback in association with Half Moon Theatre and Apples and Snakes.

    Joseph’s poems have been published in several Macmillan anthologies including Green Glass Beads (ed. by Jacqueline Wilson). His debut children’s collection Werewolf Club Rules is published by Frances Lincoln and was shortlisted for The CLPE Poetry Award in 2015. Joseph has been a guest poet on Cbeebies Rhyme Rocket where he was beamed up from The Rhyme Rock to perform his Bug Poem.

    Follow Joe on Twitter.


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  • Liz Brownlee

    Liz lives in the south west of England and visits schools accompanied by her assistance dog Lola. Liz is a children’s poet, poetry editor and film-maker. She has worked extensively with National Poetry Day and her series of film poems for NPD 2015 are available on her YouTube channel.

    Her books include Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Animal Shape poems, and Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World. Being Me, Poems About Feelings, Thoughts and Worries, and Shaping the World, 40 Historical Heroes in Shape Poems will be out in early 2021.

    Follow Liz on Twitter.


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  • Matt Goodfellow

    Matt is a poet from Manchester. His most recent solo collections are Bright Bursts of Colour (Bloomsbury 2020) and Chicken on the Roof (Otter Barry Books 2018). His collections with Liz Brownlee and Roger Stevens are Be the Change (Macmillan 2019) and The Same Inside (Macmillan 2018). Matt divides his time between writing and visiting schools, libraries and festivals to deliver inspirational performances and workshops. He spent over 10 years as a primary school teacher in Manchester.

    Follow Matt on Twitter.


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  • Deborah Alma

    Deborah is an experienced workshop facilitator and has delivered a range of poetry and creative writing workshops. She works using poetry to help communicate with people with dementia, both for The Courtyard Theatre in Hereford and for Ledbury Poetry Festival. She has been lead writer for Writing West Midlands Writing Squads in Shrewsbury & Ludlow, teaching creative writing to young people. Deborah also wrote and taught the Writing Poetry module at The University of Worcester. She was writer in residence for the NHS conference in 2013 on Mental Health and Wellbeing, was and Poet in Residence at The Hurst, for the Arvon Foundation in 2014.

    Deborah also offers consultations as the Emergency Poet and prescribes poems as cures, offering a mix of the serious, the therapeutic and the theatrical. From their poetry ambulance, Deborah and her assistant Nurse Verse dispense ‘poemcetamols’ and other poetic pills and treatments from the Cold Comfort Pharmacy.

    Follow The Emergency Poet on Facebook and Twitter.


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  • Paul Cookson

    Paul has worked as a poet for 30 years. During that time, he has visited over 4000 schools, libraries and festivals and performed to millions of people. He has over sixty titles to his name and has sold over a million books, including the best-selling anthology The Works. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, Poet in Residence for The National Football Museum and Everton In The Community. In 2009 he was nominated as a National Reading Hero and since 2015 he has been Writer In Residence for Sing Together.

    As well as his school visits, Paul is now writing songs with Slade drummer Don Powell and singer songwriter, Les Glover as Don Powell’s Occasional Flames. Their Christmas single – It Isn’t Really Christmas Until Noddy Starts To Sing – reached number 21 in the Amazon pop charts for an hour and half one Monday afternoon. Everton FC commissioned him to write “Home” – a poem for their season ticket campaign. Five Live commissioned a poem for England’s World Cup Campaign – “One Match At A Time”

    Always in demand, his performances are memorable, funny, thoughtful and interactive. Audience participation is non-negotiable. It’s like pantomime – but with better rhymes!

    Follow Paul on Twitter.


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  • Karl Nova

    Karl Nova is a Hip Hop artist, performance poet and author. He is the 2018 CLiPPA poetry award winner and took home the prize for his debut collection Rhythm And Poetry. He is also a creative writing workshop facilitator delivering his hip hop flavoured sessions all of the country and abroad.


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  • Sophie Herxheimer

    Sophie Herxheimer is the National Poetry Day artist, responsible for all the gorgeous images we use to promote poetry on the day. She’s also a fine poet and a terrific inspirer of poetry and art in others.

    Sophie trained in painting at Camberwell and Chelsea. She’s held residencies for LIFT, Southbank Centre and Transport for London. Exhibitions include The Whitworth, The Poetry Library and The National Portrait Gallery. She has illustrated five fairy tale collections; made several artists books; created a 300 metre tablecloth to run the length of Southwark Bridge, featuring hand printed food stories from a thousand Londoners; narrated an episode of The Food Programme from Margate; made a life size concrete poem in the shape of Mrs Beeton; and a pie big enough for seven drama students to jump out of on the lawn of an old peoples’ home.

    Recent publications include The Listening Forest and The New Concrete.  Sophie teaches and collaborates extensively.

    Follow Sophie on Twitter.


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  • Chrissie Gittins

    Chrissie Gittins writes poetry for children and adults, short stories and plays. She has been visiting schools as a poet for over 20 years and is an experienced teacher. She has written five children’s poetry collections. Now You See Me, Now You… and I Don’t Want an Avocado for an Uncle were shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. Both these, and her third collection The Humpback’s Wail, are Choices for the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf. Her new and collected poems Stars in Jars is a Scottish Poetry Library recommendation. Her latest collection – Adder, Bluebell, Lobster – was nominated for the North Somerset Teacher’s Book Award and featured on BBC Countryfile. Chrissie’s poems have been widely anthologized, and animated for Rhyme Rocket and Poetry Pie on Cbeebies TV. She was a finalist in the Manchester Children’s Literature Prize and she won the Belmont Poetry Prize. You can hear Chrissie reading her children’s poems on the Poetry Archive. She has also read at festivals including Hay, Edinburgh, Wigtown, West Cork, and in the Children’s Room of the Poets House in New York.

    Follow Chrissie on Twitter.


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  • Joshua Seigal

    Joshua is an award-winning poet, performer and educator who uses poetry to develop literacy skills and inspire confidence and creativity in communication. He has worked in hundreds of schools, nurseries, libraries, theatres and festivals around the country, and has poems published in numerous anthologies. Joshua is the recipient of the 2020 Laugh Out Loud Book Award, and his latest book is Welcome to My Crazy Life (Bloomsbury).

    Follow Joshua on Twitter.


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  • Gruffudd Owen

    Gruffudd hails from Pwllheli in Gwynedd but now lives in Cardiff. He worked for ten years as a script editor for the television series Pobol y Cwm, and now works as a freelance writer and editor. In May 2019 he was announced as the new Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children’s Laureate) for 2019-2021.

    He has always enjoyed reading and writing poetry and creative writing of all kinds. In 2009 he won the Drama Medal at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay, and in 2018 won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod, again in Cardiff Bay. His first volume of poetry, Hel Llus yn y Glaw (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, 2015), was shortlisted in the Poetry Category for Wales Book of the Year Award 2016.

    He is a renowned performer of poetry and music, and is a member of the bardic team, Y Ffoaduriaid, on the radio series Y Talwrn. He is also one of the organizers of Bragdy’r Beirdd poetry nights in Cardiff and has won many ‘stomp’ stools.


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  • James Carter

    James is a prize-winning children’s poet, non-fiction writer and musician – and the author of many best-selling poetry books. He travels all over the UK and abroad with his melodica (that’s Steve) to give very lively poetry/music performances and workshops. In the last eighteen years, he has visited well over 1000 schools and performed at various prestigious literary festivals, including Cheltenham, Hay and Edinburgh. Watch brilliant videos from James on Youtube here.


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  • Michaela Morgan

    Michaela Morgan is a poet and writer. She has a collection of shiny awards and shortlistings including the BBC Blue Peter Book award. Sadly, she has lost her Blue Peter badge. Hundreds of her poems are scattered in anthologies in UK and internationally. Her latest big poetic production is Alice in Poetry (Macmillan, 2016, edited by Michaela Morgan). This is an anthology of poems featuring her and many of the poetry ambassadors, providing poetic response to Alice in Wonderland. She regularly visits schools and runs workshops.

    Follow Michaela on Twitter.


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  • Roger Stevens

    Roger founded and runs the award-winning Poetry Zone website, which encourages children to write and publish their poetry and offers guidance and ideas for teachers on now to make the teaching of poetry fun and rewarding. Since 1998 The Poetry Zone has published around 20,000 poems by young people and had millions of visitors – children and teenagers, real live poets and teachers who use the Poetry Zone as a fun way of teaching poetry in their schools.

    He has published forty books for children. Apes to Zebras – an A to Z of shape poems (Bloomsbury) won the prestigious NSTB award and A Million Brilliant Poems (Bloomsbury) was shortlisted for the CLPE prize. His most recent publications are Moonstruck! (Otter-Barry Books), an anthology celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing; I Am a Jigsaw – Puzzling Poems to Baffle your Brain (Bloomsbury) and Be the Change (Macmillan), poems about sustainability.  

    He lives in Brighton with his wife and their very shy dog called Jasper. If you would like him to visit your school or library contact him directly via The Poetry Zone website or through Authors Abroad.

    Follow Roger on Facebook and Twitter.


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  • Sally Crabtree

    Sally is a songwriting poet and children’s author and she delights in creating interactive, poetic installations such as the Poetree, a Sweetshop of Words and her CreativiTEA Carriage with GWR. As the Poetry Postie she also delivers poetic inspiration to the Nation and beyond – including to the United Nations – connecting communities both locally and globally through award winning creative literacy projects.

    Follow the Poetry Postie on Twitter.


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  • Brian Moses

    Brian Moses lives in the small Sussex village of Burwash with his wife Anne and their loopy Labrador called Honey. He has been a professional children’s poet since 1988. To date he has over 200 books published including volumes of his own poetry such as Lost Magic: The Very Best of Brian Moses (Macmillan) and I Thought I Heard a Tree Sneeze: Poems for Younger Children (Troika). He has compiled over 60 poetry anthologies and written picture books such as Dreamer – Saving Our Wild World (Otter-Barry Books) and Walking With My Iguana (Troika).

    Over 1 million of Brian’s poetry books have been sold by Macmillan. Brian’s most recent book is a picture book Dragon’s Wood illustrated by Ed Boxall (Troika). He is currently compiling an anthology of funny poems to be published by Macmillan in 2021.

    Brian also runs writing workshops and performs his own poetry and percussion shows. To date he has given over 3000 performances in schools, libraries, theatres and festivals throughout the UK and abroad. He is founder and co-director of a nationwide Able Writers’ programme administered by Authors Abroad.

    Follow Brian on Twitter.


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