All About Kate Wakeling
Kate is an award-winning children’s poet with a wealth of experience working with primary-age children. She loves giving interactive poetry performances and running inspiring, inclusive and playful workshops in schools that encourage children to find and explore their own creative voices through poetry.
Kate’s debut collection of children’s poetry, Moon Juice (for children aged 7+) won the prestigious 2017 CLiPPA prize and was nominated for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal. It was described by The Sunday Times as ‘clever, funny, inspiring… full of rich ideas and roll-around-the-tongue sounds that demand to be read aloud.’ The collection explores outer space, bad moods, dodos, hamsters, Indonesian origin myths, the importance of the imagination, the power and value of children’s perceptions and the sheer joy of words as ‘sound objects’ in their own right.
Having also trained as a music workshop leader, Kate has extensive experience working with children and has given poetry workshops in primary schools all over the country. She is a lively and engaging performer of her work and has given interactive poetry readings at venues and festivals across the UK, including at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Festival, the Royal Opera House, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Verve Poetry Festival, the Bridport Literary Festival and many more.
Kate’s School Visits
Kate can be flexible in how her workshops are structured and is always happy to work closely with schools to plan a visit that works for everyone.
Kate’s poetry collection, Moon Juice, is ideally suited to KS2 groups, but she also has lots of material for working with KS1/EYFS groups too.
School visits often start with an interactive performance for assembly followed by 4 sessions (of around 45 minutes to an hour) working with different classes or year groups.
Kate’s sessions in schools usually include some or all of: some lively performances of her own poems, space for group discussion about the poems, group-writing exercises where the whole group creates a poem together, activities for children to work individually or in pairs on new poems, a focus on poetry performance working with children to explore embodied and engaged ways of delivering poems to the rest of the group.
Kate’s only technical requirement is a flipchart and paper, plus usual writing materials for individual pupils.
Moon Juice – winner of the CLiPPA 2017 (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award)
Meet Skig, who is meant to be a warrior (but is really more of a worrier). Meet a giddy comet, which skids across the sky with its tail on fire. Put a marvellous new machine in your pocket, which promises to solve all of your life s problems. Kate Wakeling’s first book of poems for children is full of curious characters and strange situations. The poems she writes are always musical, sometimes wistful, and full of wonder at the weirdness of the world.
‘This clever, funny, inspiring poetry collection, which has just won the CLiPPA, is a children’s debut by a poet for adults, full of rich ideas and roll-around-the-tongue sounds that demand to be read aloud.’ Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times
‘These are not poems created to grab the attention with the quick laugh and a lot of noise; these are poems to seduce, to attract because they reflect the imagination of the young reader. In ‘Night Journey’, Wakeling captures the almost limbo like feeling of driving through the dark so that the car becomes ‘not a mile machine/it is a thought machine’. How perfectly this describes what many young readers will have felt. Or what about the ‘Bad Moods’ who, naturally, wear weird shoes? ‘The Demon Mouth’? Or those ‘Ten dark toes at the bottom of the bed’? These are no cosily romantic lyrics but original works vividly capturing thoughts, ideas, musings and pinning them precisely to the page. Wakeling’s choice of words is pitch perfect – ‘moon is/silver sliver’ – as are her varied rhythms. These are poems to be welcomed, savoured and read aloud to oneself – and to the class or the family.’ Ferelith Hordon, Books for Keeps
‘The musicologist Kate Wakeling, meanwhile, whose collection Moon Juice, from the Emma Press, illustrated with spiky charm by Elīna Brasliņa, won the 2017 CLiPPA, ranges from dreamy celestial meditation (“Moon is / silver sliver. // Moon is / clipped cup / from which to sip / a first drop / of freshly-pressed / moon juice”) to comet-streaking speed – “Comet” comes with the injunction that it should be read as fast as possible, ideally in a single breath.’ Imogen Russell Williams, The Times Literary Supplement
‘Exuding a belief that young readers are curious about the world they live in, Kate Wakeling’s poems also give her audience a sense of power, of being able to navigate the world they (we) live in… This wonderful collection is full of encouragement and interest.’ Zoe Toft, Playing by the Book
Recommendations and Reviews
‘It was a delight to meet you. Many children have been so inspired by your poetry that they are learning their favourites off by heart. We enjoyed your visit immensely and I am sure that we will be reaping the benefits for some time to come.’
Grainne Rooney – Librarian, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
‘Thank you so much for a fantastic day. The staff and the girls really enjoyed your sessions – you could tell how engaged the girls were and they relished all the creativity and language play.’
Rachel Hickson – Librarian, James Allen’s Preparatory School
‘Kate Wakeling’s workshop and reading from her wonderful Emma Press children’s poetry book Moon Juice was a real highlight of the children’s element of our first Verve Poetry Festival in February 2017. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed her performance and on a busy weekend, her professionalism, enthusiasm and the joy she obviously finds in engaging children with poetry really stood out. Thank you Kate!’
Stuart Bartholomew – Co-Director / Programmer Verve Poetry Festival
‘Kate is welcoming, friendly and has an excellent rapport with adults and children alike. All the children were highly engaged in the session, participated fully and developed their knowledge and understanding of poetry, as well as being highly engaged in listening to, performing and contributing ideas for writing poetry. Kate thought carefully as to how each and every child would feel involved and able to contribute. She wrote a new poem for the session to share with the children, showcasing herself as a writing role model; allowing them to actively see her as a writer and increase their own aspirations to write poetry.’
Charlotte Hacking – Learning Programme Leader, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education
‘Kate took part in our reading for 8-11 year olds, ‘Incredibly Incorrigible Poems’. She was totally professional throughout and it was a pleasure to work with her. She gave a thoughtful and thought-provoking reading and presented her poems in a way that engaged the children. The children did think her poems were incredible and were queuing to get their hands on her book afterwards.’
Lorraine Mariner – Assistant Librarian at The National Poetry Library
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Kate, 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