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Steven Camden wins CLiPPA poetry award

4th Jul 19

Acclaimed script-writer and spoken word artist Steven Camden was today announced as the winner of the annual poetry award, CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award).

His debut collection, Everything All At Once, published by Macmillan Children's Books, was unanimously chosen as the winner by this year's panel of judges.

A.F. Harrold, chair of judges for CLiPPA 2019, said of Everything All At Once: "Steven's collection has so many things to recommend it, not only the mastery of our living written/spoken language but also an intense insight into the heart of a secondary school - the nuances and faceslaps of being that age, of tiptoeing or prat-falling through that environment. The heartaches and the anxieties, the laughs, the embarrassments and the low slants of daylight.

"It's as much a guidebook to navigating those tricky waters as it is a record of what he's seen. A copy of this should be given to every kid about to go up to secondary school."

Camden, who also goes by the stage name Polarbear, beat off competition from Carnegie Medal shortlistee Kwame Alexander, previous CLiPPA winner Rachel Rooney and T.S. Eliot Prize winner Philip Gross.

The final shortlisted collection, Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by beloved US poet Eloise Greenfield (Tiny Owl Publishing) was highly commended by the judges.

Praised for the way it captures the authentic teenage voice, Everything All At Once marks another high profile win for poetry for older children, which has experienced a huge uplift in the last year and comes on the back of the recent Carnegie Medal win for Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X.

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive at CLPE said, "Through our research and work with schools at CLPE, we regularly see the transformative power of poetry on children's engagement with reading and writing.

"Poetry allows children to see things from the perspective of others, to form opinions and be reflective, to understand how language is used for effect and to show them that they too can have a voice, through writing poetry of their own.

"CLiPPA champions children's poetry because we believe it is absolutely fundamental to their literacy development and we want children to have access to the best poetry from the earliest age.

"Steven Camden's collection brings us the some of the finest poetry for young people. Eloquent and complex as well as engaging and accessible, it shows the power of poetry to take the reader on an emotional journey towards adulthood."

Camden received his trophy and a cheque on The Lyttleton Stage at the National Theatre, in front of a 900-strong audience of school children who have participated in the award's shadowing scheme. As part of the prize he will also be recorded for the prestigious National Poetry Archive. The award is supported by the Siobhan Dowd Trust and the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.

To ensure the celebration of poetry continues all year round the ceremony culminated in the announcement of a national poetry reading and writing challenge for children. #MyNPDPoem marks the 25th Anniversary of National Poetry Day which this year will be celebrated on Thursday 3rd October.

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