In this blog Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin talks about the power of writing poetry to explore feelings and navigate life experiences.
She discusses her childhood inspiration and writing journey and her mission to empower the next generation to explore careers in the creative industries.
The National Literacy Trust and the Mayor have set out to inspire the next generation of young writers with the launch of West Yorkshire Poetry Week
Find out more about the West Yorkshire Poetry Week.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Before coming into politics as the MP for Batley and Spen, I spent three decades in the creative industries as a writer and actor. During this time, I’ve witnessed the transformational impact that writing can have on people’s lives.
How did you get into writing and the creative industries?
For me, like so many others, my love for writing was nurtured by my favourite teacher. When I was at sixth form, at that pivotal age where I was exploring who I was and what career I could embark on, my English teacher suggested to my mum that I should be a writer.
Beyond giving me a lifelong love of DH Lawrence, it really made me believe that there was a future in doing what I loved - that I could make a living as a writer.
Without developing those key writing skills at a young age, I would not be the person I am today.
Of course, not everyone is going to become a writer. But literacy is important for everyone.
Poetry is also a vehicle for exploring and sharing our feelings. This type of writing gives us the chance to navigate political and social challenges, and an increasingly complex world with sensitivity and nuance.
When I first became Mayor of West Yorkshire, I launched a Creative New Deal to recognise the importance of culture and support the creative industries. This does so much to unlock opportunities, raise aspirations and make our region prosperous.
We have a chance over the next few years, with major cultural festivals in each of our regions, culminating in Bradford’s turn as the UK City of Culture, to share our diverse stories nationally and internationally.
Creating the next generation of poets
We have so many great stories in West Yorkshire, and now is the time to tell them to the world.
West Yorkshire Poetry Week and the Young Poet Laureate competition is a great opportunity for students to develop their writing and communication skills which will be invaluable in any career they wish to pursue. These skills will enable them to think creatively, express their point of view and persuade an audience.
I want as many schools as possible to take part in the West Yorkshire Young Poets Laureate Project. If you haven’t already, please do sign up and receive access to free resources, in-person workshops, events, and the chance for your pupils to become the first West Yorkshire Young Poet Laureates.