By Martin Kratz
Have you ever wondered what Father Christmas does for the rest of the year? Given that the Manchester Children’s Book Festival is only on for ten days in the summer, you might wonder the same of us. But unlike Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas, we aren’t on holiday. In fact, this autumn we have been particularly busy with our cross-generational poetry competition Poetry Together.
Poetry Together is part of our wider campaign to promote children’s poetry, Let in the Stars. It is unique in that the poems you enter need to be written by two people: one of you has to be over 18, and the other has to be under 18.
We had a wonderful launch on November 23rd at Plymouth Grove Primary School in Manchester. The pupils’ stunning performance of their own poetry left me more than a little speechless (not great, given that I had to talk about the competition). Poet Mandy Coe had visited the school previously to work with the children, but even she was amazed at the unexpected directions the children had taken their writing in. It was particularly nice to chat to pupils afterwards and hear their ideas for the competition. They were so ambitious and even included an idea for a bilingual poem between grandmother and grandson taking it in turns to write a verse each.