Joseph Coelho announced as 12th winner for children

Performance poet, playwright and children’s author Joseph Coelho said he wanted to “highlight and celebrate the power of poetry” after being announced as the new winner for children.

Award-winning Coelho, 42, was presented with the Laureate Medal by outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate Dame Cressida Cowell at a ceremony in London.

Her acclaimed works include her Luna Loves… picture books, her dark series of Fairy Tales Gone Bad, which are reimaginings of the classics, and her young adult novel The Girl Who Became A Tree.

Joseph Coelho, winner The Waterstones Children 2022-2024 (AP)

Her first collection of poetry, Werewolf Club Rules, was published in 2014 and won the CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award the following year, while her works have included a range of children’s lyrical stories and poetry collections such as Overheard In A Tower Block, If All the World Were. … and Poems Aloud.

Coelho, whose term as a children’s laureate runs from 2022 to 2024, said: “Poetry is powerful, it’s the medium we turn to at weddings, funerals and new births because it goes beyond mere words – poetry conveys the soul.I want to use the prestigious Waterstones Children’s Laureate platform to highlight and celebrate the power of poetry.

“Invite the nation, young and old, to write poems, to become poets. I want to make sure every child has the opportunity to see themselves in books and as bookmakers through the plethora of new and exciting voices we have from the UK – to diversify the shelves so every child can imagine themselves as writers, illustrators and poets.

“And, finally, I want to hug all the libraries, these miraculous institutions where new horizons line the shelves, where minds will grow. Libraries have made me a writer and make communities thrive – I want to champion the services of these essential launching pads for learning.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CfUJyVUqZd6/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading expand=1]The author, who grew up in Roehampton, started writing poetry in high school and later studied archeology at university, with a biography on her website saying: “Basically, I dug up bones in Peru for a few years, which was a lot of fun, but I still wrote poems and started directing and writing plays.

After being named the Children’s Laureate, he added, “I’m trying to connect and heal my younger self – a self unable to imagine a future by writing and publishing books.

“Through this work, through the young people and the families with whom I have the chance to interact, I try to go back in time and say to little Joe: ‘You can write, you can be a writer, your voice worth your words are waiting to be heard.

“Because I know that when young people today hear this message, they will hear it too.”

During his tenure as the 12th Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Coelho will “celebrate the power of poetry, showcase new authors and illustrators to diversify bookshelves and inspire bookmakers of the future, and champion public libraries and the role they play in communities.” “.

He performed a new poem, The Power Of A Poem, for the occasion.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb0RC8jqMJ4/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading expand=1]Kate Edwards, Chair of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group and Chair of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Jury 2022-2024, said: Delighted to welcome Joseph to the ‘League of Laureates’.

“Her dynamic performance, passionate advocacy and engaging writing – which inspires children of all ages – cemented our choice for the next Waterstones Children’s Laureate, to champion the right of every child to enjoy a life rich in books and stories.

“The Steering Group looks forward to working with Joseph over the next two years to reach even more children and communities, continuing the wonderful work of outgoing Cressida Cowell MBE. On behalf of the judges, I offer Joseph our warmest congratulations.

Former holders of the position – awarded every two years – include Sir Quentin Blake, Sir Michael Morpurgo, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson.

Florentyna Martin, head of children at Waterstones, said Coelho’s tenure would be “one for the history books”, while Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, added: “Joseph is an extraordinary advocate for making poetry accessible. everyone, celebrating creativity and storytelling and inspiring younger generations to find their voice, pick up a pen, join a library and read a book.

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