Royle Family writer Henry Normal backs quest to find Nottingham’s first Young Poet Laureate

Henry Normal, Nottingham Poetry Festival
Henry Normal is on the judging panel for the Young Poet Laureate

A competition is being held to find Nottingham’s first Young Poet Laureate.

Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature is searching for a young poet to represent the city internationally.

The Laureate will hold the paid role for two years, and will hold youth-focused residency workshops at Lakeside Arts, City Arts and Hyson Green Library as well as other venues.

They will also be involved in public engagements, mentoring, and get the opportunity to represent Nottingham nationally and internationally- on top of producing poetry for the page and stage.

The competition is open to poets between 18-30 who live, work or study in Nottingham.

Debris Stevenson, founder of Nottingham’s Mouthy Poets group and one of the judges, said: “When I moved to Nottingham from London eight years ago, I was really overwhelmed by the wealth of talent and the originality here; the independent business, publishers and styles of event.

“I’ve seen performances at bus stops, on Market Square, in night clubs and beyond.

“This city has shaped my art for the better and opened by mind to new audiences as well as instilling a sense of responsibility to cultivate an atmosphere for new work and artists.”

Royle Family co-writer and poet Henry Normal is also on the judging panel.

He said: “Nottingham has a wealth of young poetic talent.

“The vibrancy of the local scene through the universities, workshops and many regular events was evident at this year’s poetry festival.

“The passion and energy of young Nottingham poets is infectious. A Young Poet Laureate for the city will help bring this love of words to a wider audience.”

The judges for the role will also include the first Young People’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi, and Panya Banjoko who is a poet and the Learning, Engagement and Collections Manager of Nottingham Black Archive.

Entrants must send in a personal written statement or short film talking about their work as a poet, why they’d like the role and what they’d like to explore as Poet Laureate.

They’ll also have to send in two poems, one of which must be themed on Nottingham.

Sandeep Mahal, director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, said: “Nottingham is one of the most exciting creative cities in the world.

“This is why Nottingham deserves a dynamic Young Poet Laureate, who will have a positive impact on our young people’s lives.

“We are looking for a young poet with a genuine desire to help young talent discover their own voice in poetry.”

Applications opened on April 28 and close at the end of June.

The Laureate winner will be announced on National Poetry Day (September 28).

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