Cheltenham Literature Festival – Poetry anthology launched during Literature Festival

8 10 2009

Poetry anthology launched during Literature Festival

A group of young poets will launch their own poetry collection during Cheltenham Literature Festival (Thursday 15th October) and a local children’s author and illustrator will read their poems.

The children have all been patients at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and have either spent time in the hospital’s school unit or had tuition from the hospital’s outreach team. The hospital education service is part of Gloucestershire County Council. It includes a school room and teachers on the children’s ward, which work with children who are on the ward, and an outreach team which works with children at home.

Children’s author and illustrator Shoo Rayner, who is performing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, will take time out to read some of the children’s poems at the launch event at GRH .

Caroline Gawler, hospital education manager, said: “All pupils of school age were encouraged to take part regardless of their age and ability and we look forward to celebrating this fantastic achievement at the Poetry Launch.”

Thirty seven young poets took part, some of whom have attended hospital regularly or spent a long time there, and some of whom have been there for a short time, for example with a broken limb or simple operation. The collection is illustrated by Poppy Roberts, who was a frequent patient at the hospital receiving treatment for cystic fibrosis. Poppy is now 19 and studying fashion and design at the University of Glamorgan.

Poppy said: “I spent many hours in the schoolroom at GRH during my childhood and it was great to be able to provide the illustrations for their Poetry Anthology. I hope the children like them. It is also fantastic to be able to help raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.”

Shoo Rayner, said: “Poetry is like an MRI scan that shows us the inner workings of the mind. The thoughtful and provoking Poetry Anthology gives us a slice of the minds of young patients in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Their imagination takes them far away from the routine life on the ward and, in some cases, helps them make sense of their situations.”

Cllr Paul McLain, Cabinet member for children and young people, will also be at the launch. Paul said: “Going into hospital can be a big shock to the system, whatever your age. So it’s important to keep young minds stimulated, particularly if they’re in for a prolonged period. It’s great to see their work being published and used to support such a good cause. There are some cracking poems in the collection. Who knows, Gloucestershire may have a future Poet Laureate in our midst!  I’m really pleased for the children that Shoo is coming along to launch the event.”

All the young poets will be presented with a copy of the anthology. The book will sell for £2 with proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

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