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The search for the next Young Poet Laureate (YPL) is on and applications are welcomed from budding young poets aged 13-17.

Warwickshire Libraries has launched the seventh YPL search in partnership with Poetry on Loan, an organisation supported by Arts Council England that aims to promote contemporary poetry throughout public libraries in the West Midlands. 

The successful Poet Laureate will use their creative ideas to champion poetry as both a writer and performer and will share their work throughout the county to a wide audience. Previous YPLs have been commissioned to write and perform poetry at special events across the county. They have also worked with library staff to deliver poetry sessions to customers of many ages and taken part in local events such as festivals and open mic nights. Over the last year, this has also branched out into digital performance via social media and virtual events.

The current YPL, Ruby Murphy has had the opportunity to take part in a variety of exciting activities. She has had her poetry published in a Lockdown Anthology of poetry published by Scriptstuff (a local poetry organisation) and has also been commissioned by Poetry on Loan to write a poem to commemorate the 20th birthday of the building in which Rugby Library is housed. Ruby has also received mentoring from poet Jasmine Gardosi and has written various blogs for Warwickshire Libraries. Talking about her experience as YPL, Ruby said:

“When I became Warwickshire’s Young Poet Laureate in January 2020, I could never have expected what was in store for me. During this time, I have had the incredible privilege of performing with one of my biggest inspirations, Carol Ann Duffy, during her evening of poetry at Rugby School.

“It would be impossible to ignore the effect that the pandemic has had on my Laureateship – suddenly shut away and disconnected from the vibrant, lively arts scene I loved, writer’s block hit me harder than ever. I wasn’t far into my term as this ‘Poet’ and already I was doubting myself and my abilities, but I can honestly say I was supported and encouraged so much by everyone involved - Warwickshire Libraries, Poetry on Loan and my incredible mentor Jasmine Gardosi.

“I have been avidly writing poetry for the past seven years, but it has been in this past year that I have developed and improved the most. Despite such difficult circumstances, I have so many amazing memories to look back on. I never anticipated such an incredible experience, doing, growing and learning so much.”

Councillor Andy Jenns, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation said: “I would like to urge any young person with an interest in poetry to apply for the Young Poet Laureate role. It’s a fantastic opportunity as you have heard from Ruby’s experience as the most recent YPL. The successful candidate will have a mentor throughout which will give them a once-in-a-lifetime chance to develop their writing and performing skills.

“The YPL scheme is also an excellent programme contributing to making Warwickshire a fantastic place to grow up in as part of Child Friendly Warwickshire.”

The deadline for applications is 6pm on Wednesday 8 September. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to take part in a virtual workshop and interview. Applicants who successfully reach the final stage of the process will be asked to perform some of their work.

For further details about the YPL role, the application process and how to apply visit  warwickshire.gov.uk/youngpoetlaureate


Watch Ruby, current YPL, reading her poetry

Published: 18th June 2021