Keswick’s Poetry Display / Children’s Laureate Announced / Multilingual Poetry Competition – Poetry News Roundup July 3rd

Today’s poetry news round up takes a look at a Robert Southey exhibition, the new children’s laureate and the Frances Browne multilingual poetry competition.

Keswick Museum Display Honours Former Poet Laureate

The Keswick Museum has dedicated its new display to Robert Southey, the former poet laureate, and his political views.

The display is part of the initiative by the museum to showcase the interests of its volunteers. Southey was a resident in Keswick for 40 years and his political views changed significantly over the years that he lives there.

The display which is titled “From Radical to Conservative: Robert Southey’s Changing Politics” showcases a selection of works by the poet from his early interest in the French Revolution to his position in later life as a staunch defender of the establishment.

The display is being hailed for its timeliness, coinciding nicely with the General Election that will take place on 4th July and the museum are hoping that visitors will learn a lot from it including just how heated and diverse the subject of politics was even 200 years ago.

The display will be running until the end of July.

New Children’s Laureate Announced

The screenwriter and novelist, Frank Cottrell-Boyce has been names as the new children’s laureate. He will taken on the role for the next two years and will be involved in championing children’s books and reading. He will be taking over from the outgoing laureate Joseph Coelho who has been in the position since 2022. The bespoke silver laureate medal was handed to Cottrell-Boyce by Coelho during a ceremony that took place yesterday in Leeds.

The long list of previous incumbents of the role include Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake.

During his speech, Cottrell-Boyce spoke about why he writes books for children and also gave a warning about the fact that the benefits of reading for children are not taken seriously enough and the importance of acting if we do not want to lose a generation of children who read for pleasure.

Cottrell-Boyce, who is Liverpool-based, stated that he will be calling for a national provision so that no child, even those in the earliest years, will not be able to access books in some way in order to help them into the future.

Managed by the BookTrust, the Waterstones Children’s laureate is a writer or illustrator who is selected every two years with the aim of celebrating storytelling and creativity, and promoting children’s literature in order to champion the rights of every child to have a life that is enriched by books.

Cottrell-Boyce is a winner of the Carnegie Medal for his 2004 debut novel “Millions” and has written a number of other books including an official sequel to “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. His screen writing has included credits on Doctor Who and also co-writing the Paddington Bear sketch for the Platinum Jubilee.

Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition Opens

Entries are being invited for the 2025 France Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition. This is a unique competition with a tri-lingual approach that welcomes poetry written in Ulster-Scots, Irish and English languages.

The competition was inaugurated in 2008.

Entries will close on 21st August at midnight.


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