11 October 2021 Share
Michael Rosen was today announced as the winner of the UK’s leading award for published poetry for children, CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award). He receives the award for his collection On the Move, Poems About Migration, published by Walker Books and illustrated by Quentin Blake.
On the Move explores Michael Rosen’s own past, as the son of a Polish-Jewish family growing up in London, and includes poems about his “missing” relatives, who lost their lives in the Holocaust. After these very personal poems, the book’s last section, called On the Move Again, connects his experiences with migration around the world to explain that we are all, always, on the move.
Allie Esiri, chair of the judges, anthologist of the bestselling A Poem for Every Day of the Year series, says, “The very best poems are rockets which can propel us to worlds — real and imagined — that are different from our own, and maps which can guide us to better understand the emotional, social, or political terrain around us. The shortlist for this year’s CLiPPA was extremely strong, showcasing outstanding poetry, but the judges were unanimous in choosing On the Move as the winner for the way in which it situates us, with striking immediacy, within Michael Rosen’s own personal recollections of migration, and invites us to consider the plight of others forced to be on the move today. In a period in which migration is continuously reshaping our ideas of belonging, heritage and identity, this book serves as a timely — and timeless — reminder of our kinship with our fellow humans of all backgrounds for readers of all ages.”
Michael Rosen has won the CLiPPA once before in 2016 for A Great Big Cuddle, also published by Walker Books and illustrated by Chris Riddell, when the award was shared with Sarah Crossan for One (Bloomsbury). This year’s win comes after a life-changing eighteen months for Rosen, who fell ill with Covid-19 in March 2020, spending two months in a medically induced coma. He was just beginning his recovery when On the Move was published last October. His experiences are described for children in a forthcoming picture book, Sticky McStickstick (Walker Books) in which he describes having to learn to walk again.
His win was revealed today, Monday 11 October, in a live Poetry Show, part of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival and introduced by Allie Esiri and CLiPPA judge, poet Zaro Weil, winner of the 2020 CLiPPA.
A rich and very varied shortlist for this year’s CLiPPA also featured poetry sensation Nikita Gill, whose anthology SLAM! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This is a joyful celebration of the young poets making their voices heard in the spoken word scene; Matt Goodfellow with Bright Bursts of Colour, a collection of vivid, often touching poems that connect directly with their young audience; Manjeet Mann for her powerful verse novel Run, Rebel; and Jane Newberry whose collection of new nursery rhymes, Big Green Crocodile Rhymes to Say and Play, will start a lifelong love of poetry.
The Poetry Show featured performances by all five shortlisted poets and they were accompanied by SLA Patron and another former Children’s Laureate and Chris Riddell, who illustrated their poems live on stage.
Schools are now invited to explore the poems in On the Move and the other shortlisted collections through CLPE’s hugely popular Shadowing Scheme launched alongside the announcement of the winner.
Michael Rosen receives a trophy and a cheque for £1000. As part of the prize he will also be recorded for the prestigious National Poetry Archive.
For further information, visit www.clpe.org.uk/poetry/CLiPPA