Thunder and lightning could not keep us away from the announcement of the winner of the CLPE award for poetry and in the event it was probably very appropriate weather for the winner this year was John Agard with his updated version of Dante's Inferno.
Introduced by Julia Eccleshare, director of CLPE (Centre for Literacy in primary Education) who also took the opportunity to mention the new library in which we were all sitting, the award was presented by last year's winner Jackie Kay.
Chosen from a shortlist of some great work - Allan Ahlberg Collected Poems, Sharon Creech Hate That Cat, Sophie Hannah & John Hegley (eds) The Ropes and JonArno Lawson Inside Out - John was clearly thrilled to have been selected for this year. He explained a little about his background and inspiration for the work in answer to Jackie's questions, had us all laughing at his references to school life and teenagers and wowed us with a fabulous reading from the poem. He read a canto of his own choosing and one selected by Jackie before mingling with the crowd answering interesting questions about Dante, his own work and having a good chat!
It was a lovely, very relaxed and low key evening that deserves mention for the important role that it plays in bringing excellent poetry for children to the forefront of the hearts and minds of publishers, teachers and of course librarians!
(Pictures to follow)