By Just Imagine’s Library Adviser, Caroline Bradley.
What a privilege to witness the CLiPPA awards this year in the Olivier Theatre at the National. Self proclaimed bookworm and literary legend, Grace Nichols opened the proceedings with her beautiful poem ‘Bookheart’, celebrating a well thumbed read.
From almost 200 video entries submitted from schools across the country, just five were selected to perform their favourite poem alongside a reading from the poets of the shortlisted entries, which this year were: John Agard’s The Rainmaker Danced illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, Rising Stars by Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama, Joseph Coelho’s Overheard in a Tower Block, illustrated by Kate Milner, Sarah Crossan’s Moonrise, Sue Hardy-Dawson’s Where Zebras Go and Karl Nova’s Rhythm and Poetry.
The performances from poets and children alike were a delight to behold. All creative and engaging in very different ways, notably John Agard’s rendition of the hairy/smoothy boos National Anthem and the incredibly talented soloist Quincey from St Thomas of Canterbury school, with his highly entertaining presentation of Karl Nova’s The Dancer.
John’s poem conveyed a poignant message, as he reminded us that the boos don’t have a word for hate and if you don’t have an enemy, why invent one?
Quincey astonished the audience with his physical display during his recital of The Dancer, which included a backflip from one side of the stage to the other. Equally impressive was the live illustration of this feat by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, who told us that responding to live action is his second favourite activity after creating illustrations for his (and others’) stories. He captured the audiences interest even before the ceremony began and continued to astound us with his instantaneous illustrating to reflect the action on stage.
The runners up this year were the wonderful Rising Stars poets: Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama who were delighted with the recognition. We look forward to seeing more from these new talents in the near future.
The winner of CLiPPA 2018, with an entry that the judges described as a book that opens doors, is Karl Nova with his debut collection: Rhythm and Rap. Genuinely surprised and humble in his acceptance, Karl profusely thanked all at Caboodle Books for their support and gave an impromptu performance of his alliterative poem A-Z, which celebrates words and values from Karl’s own observations. A highly appropriate choice to conclude an event that heralded the power of poetry.
CLPE thanked the ALCS for their support and The Siobhan Dowd Trust for helping schools to attend the event from all over the country.
To see video clips of children and poets performing their poems go to the CLPE website and also the Blue Peter Website.