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Kids Magazine The Caterpillar Poetry Prize Winner Announced

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Article by Ink Stains © 6 June 2019.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

The winner of this year’s €1,000 (£882.86) Caterpillar Poetry Prize is Andrew Weale for his children’s poem ‘Wonder-pudderful’.

The Caterpillar is a magazine of poems, stories and art, created by grown-ups for children. It is the younger sibling of The Moth, an art & literature magazine for grown-ups.  The Caterpillar is for kids between the ages of 7 and 11(ish), though grown-ups are bound to like it too. It appears four times a year ‒ in March, June, September and December ‒ and is jam-packed full of entertainment.

Judge Brian Moses said he was looking for something “that stays in the mind, something that wriggles into the reader’s head and sets up home there for a while. I was also looking for that ‘I wish I’d written this poem’ feeling”.

“It only took a few lines for me to realise that this was a poem by a writer who understood what it takes to write a poem for this age group,” he said. “I was hooked from the moment I read ‘a hyphen had swept between them/like a bird/and joined them with its wings’. I love the way that the word existed only for a brief moment in time, but it reminded me of something that the French writer Montaigne once said: ‘a rose blooms once and then dies, but for anyone who saw the rose, it blooms forever’. This poem has such potential and children will love the idea behind it.”

This year’s judge, Brian Moses, was looking for something ‘that stays in the mind, something that wriggles into the reader’s head and sets up home there for a while. I was also looking for that “I wish I’d written this poem” feeling.’ He said,  ‘It only took a few lines for me to realise that this was a poem by a writer who understood what it takes to write a poem for this age group. I was hooked from the moment I read “a hyphen had swept between them/like a bird/and joined them with its wings”. I love the way that the word existed only for a brief moment in time, but it reminded me of something that the French writer Montaigne once said: a rose blooms once and then dies, but for anyone who saw the rose, it blooms forever. This poem has such potential and children will love the idea behind it.’
Andrew Weale’s dream was to be the next Pavarotti. He has performed under many of the great conductors, such as Sir Georg Solti and Simon Rattle. Then one evening, after a performance, he felt an irresistible urge to put pen to paper and out came a piece of writing in perfect verse. This was The Oscar Song (or How To Become A Star), which was later put to music and performed (by Andrew) in one of the big Stuttgart theatres. Since then, Andrew has written mainly in verse for young children. His picture books Spooky Spooky House and Dinosaur Doo have won awards (including the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2013), and his latest project is a collection of poems about punctuation: Functuation! Punctuation!
The Caterpillar Poetry Prize has gone to one of those poems, ‘Wonder-pudderful’. And how wonder-pudderful that is! The winning poem is published in the summer issue of The Caterpillar.
John Hegley chose The Caterpillar as one of his ‘top ten children’s poetry books’ in The Guardian and it’s not even a book, or a poetry book for that matter! How about that for sneaky? Sharing the limelight with the likes of Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson. You can check out the list here.

The Caterpillar includes some GREAT writing by the likes of Michael Morpurgo (of War Horse fame, of course), Meshack Asare, Julie O’Callaghan, Dennis Lee (the man who wrote the words to Fraggle Rock!), Chrissie Gittins, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Mo O’Hara, Mark Lowery, Hilda Offen and Janet Wong (she’s read her poems on the Oprah Winfrey Show!).

The magazine is edited by Rebecca O’Connor.

You can purchase a single copy for €7, or an annual subscription (4 issues) for  just €28 (Ireland/UK) or €32 (rest of world) here.

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Ink Stains is our blog dedicated to younger writers. Here we post competitions, information on events and tips. The best advice? Keep reading - everything you can lay your hands on, and keep writing. Write for yourself to find your voice. If you'd like to contribute to this blog drop vanessa@writing.ie an email. Our superb Ink Stains illustration is by Emily Hearne , age 12, who is a 6th Class Student at Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil, Cork, thank you Emily!