Simon Armitage presents awards to creative youngsters

Budding poets of Sheffield were honoured at a ceremony with renowned Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage this week at the University of Sheffield (14 June 2011).
Fifteen local children attended the awards evening with their parents and teachers, where they received a certificate for their work at a creative writing event at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in May.

Both events were part of Creative Writing in the Community, a project that brings together researchers within the School of English with Poetry Business and other community groups to examine and explore the impact of creative writing on the local environment.

In May, school pupils spent the day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Simon Armitage and Agnes Lehoczky from the University and Peter and Ann Samson from Poetry Business. They worked together using the theme of poetry and landscape to create poems inspired by the exhibitions and sculptures on display. At the end of the day, the children chose two favourite poems they had produced to be published in an anthology by Sheffield-based publishers and community arts organisation, Poetry Business.

At the ceremony, the pupils received a copy of the anthology, entitled YSP, along with their certificates and had the chance to read their poems to the audience. There were poetry readings from Simon, Agnes, Peter and Ann who all agreed that the youngsters showed great creative flare.

Simon said: "The awards evening was a wonderful and moving and celebratory occasion. It was an evening of private thoughts given public utterance through the medium of poetry, which resulted in a triumph of creativity over shyness and an outing of hidden talents."

Professor Mike Braddick, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the University's Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: "This was one of the most inspiring events I have seen. With the help of accomplished writers and stimulated by the collections at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, these remarkable young people were able to express themselves, and how they see the world, in a very moving way. I hope too that it has demonstrated the value of the education we offer in the Arts and Humanities, and encouraged others to think that they can pursue it also."

Peter and Ann Samson said of YSP: "The poems were written mostly by students from a number of Sheffield schools, though some are also by staff and students of the University of Sheffield which organised the day as part of its Creative Writing in the Community project. All the poems here more than earn their place, with a genuine engagement in language with the world of the Sculpture Park, and we like to think it's impossible to tell which are by a Professor or a Doctor of Letters and which are by the more practiced poets of Year 9 or Year 10."

Notes for Editors:
Schools that participated in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park event were:
Birley Community College
Notre Dame High School
The City School
Myers Grove
Meadowhead School
High Storrs School
Parkwood Academy
Handsworth Grange
Stocksbridge High School
King Edward VII School
Firth Park

To find out more about the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, visit:
School of English

To find out more about Poetry Business, visit:
Poetry Business

For further information please contact: Amy Stone, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2221046 or email