We are thrilled to announce the winners of the annual Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition!
More than 25,000 primary school children from across England and Wales penned a poem on the theme of diversity for the competition, having been asked to explore what makes us ‘Beautifully different, Wonderfully the Same’ using a poem created especially for the competition by poet Joseph Coelho.
Judging was completed by a stellar panel, which included our very own Fiona Evans (Head of School Programmes) alongside Lauren Child (Waterstones Children’s Laureate), Joseph Coelho (poet), Rio Ferdinand (former Premier League footballer), and Olly Murs (singer-songwriter). All poems were judged on a range of criteria including creativity, tone and originality. The judging panel selected two national winners and 10 regional winners across Key Stages 1 and 2.
You can read the winning entries here.
Being Different, written by a group of Year One pupils from St. Finbar’s Catholic Primary School in Liverpool, was selected as the national winner for Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7).
Joseph Coelho said: “[This] poem stood out because it had a great structure. You have these regular rhyming couplets and a wonderful message which seems to refer to the poets’ own experiences of possibly struggling with, but then celebrating, diversity."
An Ordinary Girl from Birmingham by nine-year-old Maariya of Heathfield Primary School in Birmingham was chosen as the national winner for Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11 ).
Joseph Coelho said: "Maariya’s poem is wonderful. It has a really strong voice. It talks about her parents being from the North or South and how that doesn’t matter because together they make her world, which is such a beautiful sentiment.”
The national winning poets have already received a visit from the Premier League Trophy and an incredible poetry workshop with Joseph Coelho. Illustrator David Mackintosh has created bespoke pictures that will feature alongside their winners’ poems in a limited-edition anthology which will be published and distributed to schools later this year. The anthology will also feature poems from other children who performed commendably in the competition and celebrity friends of Premier League Writing Stars.
"I think poetry is one of the most powerful ways to communicate and express how you’re feeling inside. By having the football community value the importance of reading and writing, it speaks to children who may not have written a poem before.”
“We were sitting there saying, 'Are these kids really this age, writing this?' Some of the vocabulary, the language, the ideas and the way the poems took shape... it seemed more like university students! Congratulations to all the kids who took part because it has been a really difficult task going through all the entries and finding the winner. We could have picked so many."