Poetry Society Member Kate Clanchy has been awarded an MBE for services to literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Kate has been a teacher in state schools for nearly 30 years and is Writer in Residence at Oxford Spires Academy.
Over the last nine years, she has nurtured creative talent at the school, whose pupils come from all over the world and where more than 30 languages are spoken. As a result, the school has been hugely successful in poetry competitions, with pupils winning multiple national prizes.
The pupils in Kate’s ‘Very Quiet Foreign Girls’ poetry group, many of whom arrived in the UK as refugees, have also created a radio programme, which was nominated for The Poetry Society’s Ted Hughes Award in 2015. Kate has shared their poetry with thousands on Twitter and many of her students have gone on to win the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.
The best of the pupils’ poetry is due to be published in a new anthology, England: Poems from a School, on 14 June. The poems create a portrayal of England as it is experienced by young migrants, and features moving personal stories from the pupils.
Kate told the University of Reading: “I was very surprised to be awarded an MBE, but also very pleased. MBEs are for service, and I like to think this one honours my work in schools and so the importance of literature in schools.”
Kate’s next book, Some Kids I Taught And What They Taught Me, described as a “candid” and “deeply moving” insight into life in British state schools, will be published next year.
11 June 2018