All About Chrissie Gittins
Chrissie Gittins was born in Lancashire and lives in Forest Hill in South London. She studied at Newcastle University and St Martin’s School of Art. She worked as an artist and a teacher before becoming a freelance writer. She writes poetry, radio drama and short stories.
Her first children’s poetry collection Now You See Me, Now You … (Rabbit Hole, 2002) was shortlisted for the inaugural CLPE Award in 2003. Two of her children’s poems won Belmont Poetry Prizes in 2002. Her second children’s collection I Don’t Want an Avocado for an Uncle (Rabbit Hole, 2006) was the Poetry Book Society’s single poet collection ‘choice’ for the Children’s Poetry Bookshself, Autumn 2006; it was also shortlisted for the 2007 CLPE Poetry Award. Her latest collection, The Humpback’s Wail, is also a Choice for the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf.
She has read her poetry at the Royal Festival Hall, the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Hay Festival and the Poets House New York.
Chrissie has received a fellowship at Hawthornden Castle and awards from the Society of Authors, the Royal Literary Fund, and the Author’s Foundation. She is included in the British Council Contemporary Writers database of the 600 writers ‘regarded as the best of UK and Commonwealth writers’.
Chrissie’s School Visits
Chrissie has worked with children and young people far and wide. Her residencies have included prisons, a hospice and an international school in Bangkok.
She completed a Poetry Society Poetry Place at the Refugee Council in 1999 and was Writer-in-Residence with Maidstone Borough Council 2000/1. Chrissie was Poet-in-Residence with twelve primary schools in Southwark 2002/3 and she was Poet-in-Residence with Croydon Libraries 2003/4. In 2005 Chrissie toured ten isolated primary and secondary schools on the western seaboard of the Highlands.
She is part of the Poetry Society’s poetryclass training team for teachers.
Chrissie Gittin’s new and collected children’s poems Stars in Jars was published by Bloomsbury in 2013. It’s the summation of 18 years of writing poems for children.
Samples of Chrissie’s Poems
Dawn Meets the Queen
The chandeliers were like upside-down sparkly trees,
the sofas were as long as stretch limousines.
I sunk, waist-deep, in red carpet,
nibbled miniature scones.
Watched by her Rembrandt and Vermeer
the Queen came near. She smiled.
And which school are you from?
Are you enjoying your visit?”
I ran to my teacher.
I’ve just spoken to THE QUEEN!”
My mouth was as wide as Japan.
Really, she’s just like my Nan!”
What Does Poetry Do?
It nosedives from the top of the fridge
into a bowl of rapids,
it crawls along the floor
and taps you on the knee,
it changes the colour of a room,
it puts great wheezing slices of life
into bun trays, with or without punctuation.
It manages this all by itself.
GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING
Don’t squash peas on your knees,
Don’t grate carrot on a parrot,
Don’t tangle pears in your nostril hairs
Never risk a quid on a squid.
Don’t pour bottled beer in your ear.
Never slice apple pies on your thighs.
Never wash your pullovers with yesterday’s leftovers.
Don’t entice a bowl of egg fried rice.
Don’t assume that tarragon’s a paragon,
Or try to run faster than a bag of spinach pasta,
Don’t try a lunge at Victoria sponge,
A cake with a steak is a mistake.
Bravado never works with avocado,
A flickin’s not the thing to give to chicken,
Don’t go and stutter on the b-b-b-b-butter
Never feed mice on ice.
Careful not to ravage a coy savoy cabbage,
Never have a tussle with a mussel,
Don’t ever hurry with a spicy prawn curry,
Don’t boast about your buttered toast.
Don’t pour jelly in your welly,
Don’t dribble tagliatelle on your older brother’s belly.
Never do the tango with a ripe and juicy mango,
If you do then you’re sure to pay the price!
Recommendations & Reviews
“One of the best ‘children’s poets’ currently writing and visiting schools.” – Pie Corbett
“Thank you Chrissie for a wonderful day. Since you were here, we have festooned our corridors with poems – either poems girls wrote with you, or ones inspired by your visit, or indeed favourite poems. You were much appreciated, and it was a terrific start to Poetry Week.” – Julia Dilworth, The Lady Eleanor Holles Junior School, Hampton Hill, Middlesex, UK
“We are so pleased with the school sessions. Besides being a skilled poet you have a lovely manner with children.” – Linda Crossley-Holland, Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival
“Feedback from three of the ten Highland schools Chrissie visited autumn 2005 The children really enjoyed your visit and were very inspired by it. The staff that worked with you that day were most impressed with the way you handled the children and how you pitched the workshop at an appropriate level, which can be difficult with a small composite class. After your visit the children enjoyed reading and listening to your poems. They now demand a poem every day! I would strongly recommend your workshop to colleagues. Many thanks for coming this far north.” – Graham Bruce, Head Teacher, Durness Primary School, Scottish Highlands
“I would like to keep in touch with you, as finding someone who can tap into our pupils’ huge range of ability and needs so readily, and with obvious enjoyment, is rare.” – Sheila Batchelor, Marjorie McClure School, Chislehurst
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Chrissie Gittins, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org