Award winning poet and writer Aliyah was recently crowned Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate 2018-20, during the Birmingham Literature Festival and said she was “overwhelmed and incredibly proud”. Aliyah was among hundreds of talented youngsters who applied for the honour which, along with the adult Laureateship, is awarded every two years by the Birmingham Library and Writing West Midlands. As Young Laureate, she will write and perform at important occasions and workshops across the region, designed to inspire and encourage thousands of young people to become creative writers themselves. Previous Young Laureates have appeared on radio and TV, met politicians and royalty and written on a range of subjects, including sport, romance, gaming and what it’s like to be young today. The role also involves producing poems for special events like Holocaust Memorial Day, Black History Month and International Women’s Day. “When I heard I’d been selected as Young Laureate, I was incredibly happy as I genuinely wasn’t expecting it,” Aliyah explained. “Everyone had to submit two poems and write 300 words about themselves and what they’d hope to do in the role. Five of us were shortlisted for the final interviews at Birmingham Library and I had to perform one of my poems and a poem by someone else. I chose one called “For the victims of the Real Dead Seas”, which I wrote about the victims of the refugee crisis. It was in front of a panel of four who were really nice, but it was pretty nerve-wracking. I didn’t come out feeling ‘Yes I nailed it!’ so I am thrilled to get such an exciting opportunity.” One of Aliyah’s award winning poems, is available to read here.
On Friday 23 February, the KEHS and KES African and Caribbean Society hosted the first King Edward’s Foundation wide Conference. We had 120 students from across 12 schools from across the KEVI Foundation attend the day.