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Return of a star-studded poetry competition

Rio Ferdinand, Olly Murs, Lauren Child, Casia Wiliam and Joseph Coelho are among the judges of Premier League Writing Stars 2019

Posted by Julian Owen | November 16, 2018 | School life

The Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition is returning for its second year, aiming to inspire children aged between five and eleven to get creative and pen a poem on the theme of diversity.

The campaign, open to all primary schools in England and Wales, is supported by stars from the worlds of football, entertainment and literature. Last year’s inaugural Writing Stars competition encouraged more than 25,000 primary school pupils to write a poem. 

The judging panel includes former Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer and songwriter Olly Murs, Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, and poet, Joseph Coelho. Casia Wiliam, current Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh language Children’s Poet Laureate) will guest judge all Welsh language entries. All judging will be overseen by National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas.

To inspire children taking part in the competition, Joseph Coelho has created a bespoke poem titled ‘Beautifully different, wonderfully the same’.

Entries will be considered against a range of criteria, including creativity, tone and originality. The winning poems will be published in a limited-edition book. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits, as well as winning poems being read aloud by some of the competition judges. The first 1,000 primary schools to enter will receive a poetry book bag containing 12 different titles.

Joseph Coelho

Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, said: “We were thrilled by the response to the inaugural Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition. To receive more than 25,000 poems written by primary school children from across England and Wales was extraordinary. We hope that, with the excellent judging panel we have this year, more children will be encouraged and inspired to write creatively.

“This year’s theme, diversity, is hugely important to us as an organisation and to all our clubs. The Premier League has players and fans from all over the world and the competition is open to everyone, everywhere. We hope that comes through in the poems.”

Lauren Child, said: “Poetry gives children a creative way to express themselves and have the freedom to talk about personal and moving subjects in an unrestricted way. I am already looking forward to reading what this year’s young poets write.”

Joseph Coelho said: “Poetry provides a fantastic way for children to explore all manner of themes in interesting and imaginative ways. Diversity is a hugely important topic for everyone to explore, and one that children, in particular, are able to delve into with joy and creativity.”

The Writing Stars competition is supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which engages more than 16,000 primary schools in England and Wales.

Teachers have until Friday 21 December to submit their pupils’ work, either online or by post. Winners will be announced in March 2019.

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