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Isobel Horsely, 16, is Staffordshire's new young poet laureate.

New young poet laureate crowned for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Isobel Horsley, aged 16 from Lichfield, has been chosen as the new young poet laureate for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Isobel performed her powerful poems alongside her fellow shortlisted poets, at a special poetry event at the Shire Hall Gallery on Saturday 3 September.

The prestigious competition is a joint initiative between the city and county councils to promote a love of poetry and showcase the creative writing skills of 14-18 year olds across the area.

Isobel, currently a pupil at King Edwards School, said:

I’m thrilled to be chosen because I can share my other poetry with my age group and perhaps convince them it’s not as boring as they think it might be. I like writing about things I see or I think are interesting. In my year as poet laureate I want to try and organise some mixed media competitions and see if we can get more people enthused about poetry, or maybe start a club in my local library about performing and reading poetry.  I’m really excited.”

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member responsible for libraries at Staffordshire County Council, said:

I’m delighted to welcome Isobel to her new role. Isobel is our fourth young poet laureate which is proving year on year to be a popular scheme for our county’s young writers and poets. I know the judges were very impressed with her poetry and performance skills. I wish her every success in her forthcoming role, she’s in for a busy year writing and performing poems for special events, and helping us to boost appreciation of poetry in younger people across the county.

“I’d also like to thank outgoing post holder Mathilda Houston-Brown who has done a marvellous job and I offer her our best wishes for the future.”

The judges, including current Staffordshire Poet Laurate Bert Flitcroft and outgoing Young Poet Laureate, Mathilda Houston-Brown said they were impressed with Isobel’s poems and “ability to engage the audience when delivering her poetry.

Mathilda said:

I was struck by Isobel’s passion for poetry, she had an interesting way of using different voices that made her poetry unique. Being Young Poet Laureate is a task with a lot of responsibility, and we felt that Isobel would really throw herself into the role and take as much out of it as she could. I certainly know that it has brought me a lot of joy, and encouraged my confidence, and I hope it will be as beneficial to Isobel as it was to me. Good luck Isobel!”

Isobel will take up the role at a special celebration event on National Poetry Day on 6 October.