The Manchester Children’s Book Festival, at Manchester Metropolitan University, has joined forces with the Co-operative Group to launch a cross-generational poetry competition to help tackle loneliness and isolation.
Poetry Together invites children and young people to pair up with a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, carer, sibling or friend to share their ideas and co-operate to create brand new poetry. It is the brainchild of Poet Laureate, Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who is creative director of the Manchester Writing School at MMU.
“Poetry Together is a competition with a real difference in the way it emphasises collaboration between generations, and is tied into a wider socially-orientated campaign,” she said.
“The spirit underlying the principles that guide Poetry Together is also evident in the fact that the competition is free to enter and resources are available for free on the website to help those who aren’t sure where to start.”
Last year Co-operative Group members voted to adopt a campaign with the British Red Cross to tackle loneliness and isolation.
Richard Pennycook, chief executive of the Group, said: “This is a wonderful way in which to connect people across different generations. Loneliness is one of our biggest social issues, but gets little public attention.
“From young people struggling to find their identity, to single parents bringing up children, to carers coping with dementia, to the elderly left on their own, it does not discriminate.”
The competition runs until 29 April and will be judged by Dame Carol Ann Duffy, with guest poets Gillian Clarke and Martin Kratz. The shortlist will be announced mid-May and all shortlisted entrants given 100 copies of their poem, professionally designed as postcards to share with friends and family, and will be invited to the festival launch event in June.
The overall winners will be announced at the festival, and both adult and child will receive the Poetry Together award and a £250 gift voucher.
- To find out more, visit the MCBF Poetry Together page.