Search begins for Fenland’s first Poet Laureate as Atelier East win top award

THE search is on to find Fenland’s first Poet Laureate after Atelier East won a national award to help them lead poetry sessions across the district’s schools.

The arts organisation was one of only 13 in the country to win the coveted Clore Duffield Poetry award - which enables them to take the creative sessions.

Professional poet and performer Mark Grist has already been brought in to help inspire youngsters to pen their own imaginative poems.

Atelier East has also launched a competition to find Fenland’s first Poet Laureate, with categories open to children and adults.

Mr Grist said: “The workshops have been a lot of fun so far and I can’t wait to do some more. The competition itself will be a great opportunity to unearth some undiscovered writers.

“I’m really enjoying working with students across the Fens to develop their poetry skills.”

Mr Grist’s workshops, which aim to “break down the stigma that is attached to studying poetry”, have already proved popular.

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Melanie Martin, from Elm Road School, said: “We are currently looking at poetry in year six so the session with Mark fitted in a treat.

“It was great that Mark spent some time in the classroom reading the personification poems that we had written prior to his visit. The children were proud to share their poems with him.”

Atelier East are producing a classroom pack that will be sent out across Fenland to support the work they have started and also allow access to children who were unable to attend the workshops in November.

For more information about workshops and how to enter the Poet Laureate competition, visit or e-mail

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