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Caleb Femi Nigerian becomes London's first Young People's Laureate

Caleb Femi has been honoured with the prestigious role of Young People's Laureate in London.

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26-year-old Caleb Femi will be named in the books of history in Nigeria and London with his achievement after being declared as London’s first Young People’s Laureate.

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The Nigerian poet and English teacher was given the prestigious appointment by a panel of arts bodies and individual judges, including The Roundhouse, the Poetry Society and Jacob Sam-La Rose.

Caleb Femi play

Caleb Femi

 

Femi who is also a photographer is being given the responsibility of raising awareness for poetry in the capital both on a national and international scale.

The Spread the Word's young laureate initiative is funded by the Foundation for Future London follows the young poet laureate for London scheme.

The position was previously held by Warsan Shire, the Somali-British poet made headlines for her role in Beyonce's visual album 'Lemonade.'

Another responsibility which comes with the  role of laureate is to support the development of aspiring poets and youths, through the use of development initiatives such as Poetry Lab as well as championing issues that affect them in his prose.

Speaking on his new role, Femi said:

"I feel honoured and excited to be the First Young People’s Laureate for London. I want to maintain that awareness that anything is achievable. I also want to normalise poetry across all demographies."

Caleb Femi play

Caleb Femi

 

Arriving in London at the age of seven, Femi grew up on the North Peckham Estate and believes his professional and social backgrounds will be useful in equipping him to address issues affecting young black men and women.

"Because of where I have lived and taught, a school in Tottenham, I became familiar with a high percentage of the pupils who were young black boys and girls. The result is that I’m aware of the platforms and issues that are relevant to them. I want to translate these issues into poetry, which I believe will make them more understandable," he added.

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The laureate has a one-year tenure during which he will work with Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency, to help develop a range of poetry opportunities and also achieve his objectives.

When his tenure comes to an end, Femi will spearhead a development day, The Young People’s Poetry Salon, which will feature the best and finest of the new young page and spoken word poetry in London.

Femi also shared a few words of advice for aspiring poets, "It’s important to read as much diverse poetry collections as possible – Indian, Caribbean and African. That will provide ideas as to where developing poets can fit in and how they can introduce something new."

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