Award-winning American poet visits Corby school

An award-winning poet and author visited a Corby school earlier this month.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 11:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 11:02 am

New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander, who has 33 titles to his name, gave an electrifying performance to hundreds of students from Brooke Weston Trust schools and beyond at Corby Business Academy.

His work has won the Newbery Medal in America and he was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in England this year. Both are hugely prestigious prizes in children’s literature.

Along with his sidekick and friend Randy Preston, who provided musical accompaniment, Kwame kept the audience at Corby Business Academy rapt for an hour-long talk outlining his career and love of poetry as he did a huge amount of audience participation.

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Students were fascinated by Kwame's talk.

He said: "I had so many stories in my head and I wanted to get them out on paper because I felt like I had something to say.

"I try to surround myself with people who are “say yes” people.

"I want to have people who believe in the power of “yes” around me. I always want to inspire others. We have to lift each other up and make the world more beautiful.

"Young people like you are the ones who are going to do it.

"Where you are going to learn to imagine it better is in the pages of a book."

Kwame read extracts from his work, ‘Surf’s Up’, did a rap with Jodie Kidner, the librarian from Corby Technical School, and held a poetry competition with four students.

He also took part in a question-and-answer session where he was asked about inspiration for stories.

He ended the session by getting the audience, comprising students from Brooke Weston Trust secondary schools as well as Compass Primary and Lodge Park Academy, to sing his poem and mantra for life: ‘Be A Star/In Your Mind/Day and Night/ Let It Shine’.

Corby Business Academy’s librarian, Amy McKay, said: "It has been a huge privilege to have such a world-renowned author at our school. In the morning he spoke to 160 Corby Business Academy students, from Years 7, 8 and 9 when he read his recently published Undefeated. Undefeated is a poem he wrote about Black History, the poem is as incredible as you'd imagine and the book is full of striking illustrations by Kadir Nelson. I've been lucky enough to hear Kwame read it three times now and have shed a tear each time. It's been nominated for the 2020 Greenaway Medal.

"In the afternoon we were lucky enough to invite other schools to hear another amazing presentation about his life and poetry.

"This was an unforgettable experience that left all of the students absolutely buzzing.

"Kwame was very generous with his time, talking to them, posing for photographs and signing books. I would also like to thank his UK publishers Andersen Press, for arranging this visit from such a high profile and in demand author."