Proud Callum wins prize for poetry

October 31 2019

A STUDENT who struggled with English when he was younger has captured the imaginations of judges at a major poetry competition.

Proud Callum wins prize for poetry

Callum Roberts, who attends John Cabot Academy, wrote Gender Vs Meaning during sessions at the school aimed at developing writing skills.

The Year 10 student was staggered to discover his piece had been longlisted for the Foyle Young Poets of the Year award.

Held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Callum was placed in the top 40 from more than 1,000 entries.

Callum took part in the academy's First Story group, run by Caleb Parkin, Judy Hayes and Sally Maud, which met over 16 sessions. The aims was to write and develop pieces of writing - mainly poetry - which then became the soon-to-be-launched book, The List Might Never End.

Callum's piece of writing emerged from a session about gender and LGBT History Month.

Caleb entered two poems and was delighted when Callum's piece was selected by Jackie Kay and Raymond Antrobus for this year's Foyle award. 

Caleb said: “For me, what's so delightful about it being longlisted for such a prestigious award is that it's a brief, direct and honest poem about something important - spoken in Callum's own voice. And there's something very important there for all young writers: what you say has value, your ideas have value, and the way you express those has its own enormous value, too. So keep at it - and be yourself in your writing! Well done Callum, this is a wonderful achievement which I hope encourages your writing life ahead.”

Callum said: “I was extremely shocked when I found out I was in the top 40, as I have struggled with English in my early years at school. I am immensely proud of my achievement and the poem.”

Gender Vs Meaning

Humans are strange creatures:
they use abstractions
to describe themselves

Meaning is a gift you give yourself
Gender is a jumper you knit and wear.
Meaning is an unplanned flight path.
Gender is a discovery made, well – later.

 Callum Roberts