Matt Abbott and Theresa Lola announced as Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Patrons

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Patrons of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award are Matt Abbott and Theresa Lola!

Matt is a poet, educator, and activist from Wakefield. His debut collection for children, A Hurricane in my Head, was published by Bloomsbury in summer 2019. In April 2020, he released the EP A Life of Wearing White EP. The first half features his Leeds United centenary poem, and 50% of the profits on the overall release will be donated to Leeds Fans Food Bank.

Theresa is a poet, writer, and currently Young People’s Laureate for London. Her debut collection, In Search of Equilibrium, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2019. She’s currently running a project called #SAYYOURPEACE, a campaign that encourages young people to use poetry to find peace and solace during the uncertain times the world faces.

We’re thrilled to have them both on board as we know their voices resonate with so many young writers today.

Matt says: “I’m massively honoured to be a Foyle patron. Now more than ever, young folk need a platform to express themselves creatively. I genuinely believe that poetry is both the most accessible and impactful art-form for you to engage in. Social media can often be overwhelming and is based entirely on getting instant responses. Poetry allows you to take a step back and communicate in a more meaningful way. These awards allow you to challenge yourself, discover yourself, and connect with your peers in a way that could transform your life forever. Good luck writing, and most of all, enjoy it!”

Theresa says: “I am delighted to be a patron for the Foyle Young Poets Award 2020. Foyle has been a platform and spring board for a lot of poets we cherish today, and they have remained dedicated to encouraging the voices of young people writing poetry. One of the things I also respect about The Foyle Young Poets Award is its an international reach that welcomes young poets from all over the world. Poetry is a valuable way to access the power of words while also playing with how creative we can be with them.”

In our video, Matt and Theresa tell us what poetry means to them and why they think you should be writing. And if you’re aged 11-17, you can enter this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award at The deadline is midnight BST on 31 July 2020. Good luck!