CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2018

Announcement of shortlist for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA), launch of Schools Shadowing Scheme and the 16th annual CLiPPA to be held in association with ALCS

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) is delighted to announce the 2018 shortlist for the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award). Established in 2003, the CLiPPA encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. This year sees the largest ever number of poetry book submissions following a bumper year for eligible poetry.

The 2018 shortlist celebrates and highlights the diversity of voices in the UK poetry scene. From debut collections Sue Hardy-Dawson’s Where Do Zebras Go and Karl Nova’s Rhythm and Poetry, to the legendary John Agard’s The Rainmaker Danced. From books already receiving recognition – Sarah Crossan’s Moonrise and Joseph Coelho’s Overheard in a Tower Block – to the Rising Stars collection celebrating under-represented voices publishing their poems for the first time. The shortlist is evenly split between 3 previous winners and 3 debut collections, with 3 out of the 6 shortlisted books coming from independent publisher Otter-Barry Books.

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said “CLiPPA is leading an essential movement to build on the current huge popularity of poetry and the growing poetry market to ensure that poetry for children is acknowledged as an essential part of this landscape. The shortlist recognises not just great children’s poets but great poets full stop. We want as many people as possible to know about these wonderful works and CLiPPA, the Shadowing Scheme and the resources we produce all come together to make sure that they receive the high profile they deserve.”

This year has seen an increase in submissions of almost 70%, from 19 books from 9 publishers in 2017 to 32 books from 19 publishers in 2018.

The full shortlist is:

  • John Agard: The Rainmaker Danced, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, Hodder – witty and satirical poems that focus on social observations, play with myths and traditional tales and reflect on the nature of humanity.
  • Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme, Amina Jama: Rising Stars, Otter-Barry Books, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, Elanor Chuah and Joe Manners – a showcase for five fresh and exciting emerging writer-performers.
  • Joseph Coelho: Overheard in a Tower Block, illustrated by Kate Milner, Otter-Barry Books – a powerful collection, offering glimpses into the challenges of a boy’s life, ingeniously threaded through with fantasy, story, myth and magic.
  • Sarah Crossan: Moonrise, Bloomsbury – a moving verse novel for young adults, seen from the viewpoint of a young man whose brother is on death row.
  • Sue Hardy-Dawson: Where Zebras Go, Otter-Barry Books – a first solo collection uniting a variety of voices with a wide range of poetic forms.
  • Karl Nova: Rhythm and Poetry, illustrated by Joseph Witchall, Caboodle Books – the first published collection from a Hip Hop poet, demonstrating the currency and significance of rap as a form, especially for young people.

Grace Nichols, Poet, winner of the first ever CLiPPA and Chair of the CLiPPA 2018 Judges commented: “The judging process involved passionate discussions about which books to shortlist, leading us to come up with a variety of fresh new voices joined by established ones. This shortlist showcases a vibrant selection of poetry books that children will love to explore”

The judging panel is chaired by much loved poet and CLiPPA 2003 winner, Grace Nichols along with Kate Wakeling, poet and CLiPPA 2017 winner for Moon Juice, Imogen Lycett Green, Director of the Betjeman Prize for Young Poets, Charlotte Hacking, CLPE Learning Programme Leader and Anthony Anaxagorou, poet, poetry educator and founder of Out-Spoken Press.

The winner of the 2018 Award will be announced on 22nd June in the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London. This will be the 4th year that CLPE has partnered with the National Theatre to deliver the Poetry Show which will include performances from children participating in the Shadowing Scheme and the shortlisted poets. The winner of the Award will receive £1000. Former Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, will live draw the Award Ceremony.

The free Shadowing Scheme to involve schools in the Poetry Award 2018 launched on 26 April. This has run for 3 years, reaching more than 600 teachers and 14,000 children. To support schools to take poetry into the classroom, videos of poets performing from the shortlisted books and talking about their work and high quality teaching resources, are available free of charge to all schools Shadowing schools are invited to apply for free tickets to attend the Award Ceremony.

As part of this scheme, CLPE will be partnering with ALCS to educate teachers and children about copyright and about the rights of writers. We’re proud to be involved as it’s a great, creative way to share the message about the importance of copyright. The Siobhan Dowd Trust will also be supporting the Shadowing Scheme by helping CLPE to provide free copies of the shortlisted books to selected shadowing schools.

@clpe1 #CLiPPA2018

For further information please visit or contact / 020 7401 3382

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)

CLPE is an independent UK charity working to raise the literacy achievement of children by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. CLiPPA, the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award, was developed to ensure that children’s poetry has a recognised place within children’s literature. For free poetry resources including films of poets performing visit For further information about CLPE please visit The full list of previous winners is available at


We are delighted to be involved in several opportunities to help teach children about the advantages of copyright. All our past and present copyright education materials can be found here.