Let me edu-tain you!

STOP PRESS: My new book Flying High! is published! 

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Welcome to theBigBuzz, home of poet and performer Anneliese Emmans Dean. Let me edu-tain you with my award winning:

and my acclaimed:

I’m all about promoting learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme, wellbeing through words and sustainability through creativity. So whether you’re a primary school looking for a poet or photographer to visit, a theatre or festival looking for an edu-taining family show, a club looking for an edu-taining after-dinner speaker, or a parent looking for a photography workshop to give your child as a present, then just get in touch, and I’ll see how I can help.

Mooch around this site, read the feedback (from schools and from events) and scroll down through the blog posts below to learn more.

And to find out where you can see a show or take part in a workshop, click here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean

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The P-Factor 2017

So excited was I by the prospect of judging the Ryedale Book Festival P-Factor Grand Final this year that I penned a poem. But I only penned it a couple of days before the event. Did I have time to learn it? Did I have the nerve to perform it at the event itself?

As the poem aimed to inspire the children to give the very best of themselves in their performances that afternoon, I decided to take my courage into my hands and give it a go. Here’s the result:

The results that really counted that day, of course, were those of the P-Factor competition itself. Schools from around Ryedale came to Malton to perform the poems they’d learned in front of a panel of three judges – poets Mandy Coe, Catherine Boddy and me (all of whom had performed for the children in the morning).

The P Factor 2017 Judges: Catherine Boddy, Mandy Coe, and me

The P Factor 2017 Judges: Catherine Boddy, Mandy Coe, and me

I knew from the last time I’d judged the competition (back in 2015, along with John Hegley, P-Factor founder Andy Seed and Steven Nash) that I was in for a treat! And this year’s contestants did not disappoint.

The props this year included a real live chocolate cake, which a child proceeded to consume in front of our very eyes as part of his rendition of Michael Rosen’s ‘Chocolate Cake’ poem!

Over the course of the afternoon children performed a wide variety of poems. They rapped, they made us laugh, they brought a tear to our eyes. They all brought poetry to life.

We judges were only supposed to come up with one winner and one runner-up. But the three girls from Kirkbymoorside Primary School were so good that we had to invent a special ‘Highly Commended’ prize category just for them!

The Runners-up of this year’s competition were … the team from Wellburn Hall School with their fabulous rendition of an Anansi Spider poem:

The Wellburn Hall School P-Factor 2017 runners-up, with the Mayor of Malton and a gaggle of poets

The Wellburn Hall School P-Factor 2017 runners-up, with the Mayor of Malton and a gaggle of poets

And the winners were … the Langton Primary School team, with their faultless performance of Michael Rosen’s ‘Strict’ poem!

The Langton School winners of the P Factor 2017 - with the Mayor of Malton and a gaggle of poets

The Langton School winners of the P-Factor 2017 – with the Mayor of Malton and a gaggle of poets

This is such an inspiring event. An entire auditorium full of children cheering about, and performing, poetry – for a whole day. Whoof! And the competition gets live-streamed back to all the schools involved!

Hats off to Karen Saunders and Sarah Tyson of Ryedale Book Festival for all they do to make this event happen. And to all the other Festival volunteers and tech people who made this year’s event go so well. Massive thanks too to the teachers and pupils of all the schools involved, for the time, energy and creativity you put into the competition.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

P-Factor 2017 Runners-Up from Wellburn Hall School in costume!

P-Factor 2017 runners-up from Wellburn Hall School in costume!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

National Poetry Day 2017

It’s National Poetry Day on Thursday (28 September), with this year’s theme being ‘Freedom’. So, here’s a freedom-themed poetry video to kick-start your National Poetry Day celebrations:

View more of my poetry videos here.

Happy National Poetry Day – wherever you may be!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Book signings galore!

Here’s a wee round-up of my August book signings, following the publication of my Flying High! bird book this summer.

So, we start in Waterstones in York, where The Nest Test was first put into action (see middle photo below):

Book signing at Waterstones, York, 5 August 2017

Book signing at Waterstones, York, 5 August 2017

One of the highlights of this signing was the completely unexpected appearance of Marcus – yes, the very Marcus after whom the Marcus poem on p. 148 of Buzzing! was named. (You can see Marcus-the-person holding Buzzing! up at said Marcus-the-ladybird’s page in the left-hand photo above.)

Moving on, then, to Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough:

Book signing at Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough, 19 August 2017

Book signing at Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough, 19 August 2017

One of the undoubted highlights of this book signing was Mabel, the Wardle and Jones dog! (Seen here in the arms of Wardle & Jones store owner Rachel.)

And then on to the UK’s City of Culture, where you are met off the train by a poet (one Philip Larkin), and where I was book signing in Waterstones:

Booksigning in Waterstones in Hull, the UK City of Culture

Book signing in Waterstones in Hull, the UK City of Culture, 26 August 2017

One of the highlights of this book signing was stroking a little girl’s imaginary hamster. (And a softer, sweeter hamster you never did come across!) Another highlight was selling more books than JK Rowling! (I can say this with confidence as I was sitting right in front of the Harry Potter shelves.)

What all three of these signings had in common was the joy that performing my poems to and with so many children gave me. Watching their faces light up during the poems was priceless. Particularly special was when children performed poems from the book to me. It’s a thrilling experience to watch and listen to your words being lifted off the page by a child.

So, the next book signing is … well, it’s not in a bookshop, but it’s part of York’s Heritage Open Days. I’ve been invited to spend the morning of Saturday 9 September at the historic Unitarian Chapel in St Saviourgate in York – the theme of the day being ‘Aspects of the Garden’. I’ll be there from 11(-ish). See you there!

Thank you to all three of these bookshops for hosting me. If you fancy a book signing in your bookshop, or in a bookshop near you, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High! at St Nicks

You may recall I am a Patron of St Nicks, the Centre for Nature and Green Living here in York. It was a great pleasure to put on a Flying High! show there last week, to celebrate the recent launch of my Flying High! book (and raise funds for St Nicks through book sales).

Flying High! at St Nicks

Flying High! at St Nicks. (Photo by Lewis Outing)

It was a particular pleasure as my secondary school English teacher Mrs Green was in attendance. If you check out the Acknowledgements page, you’ll see I have a word or two to say about her there! (N.B. She has been trying for some time to persuade me to call her by her first name, but after so many years of handing in homework to be marked by her, you’ll understand why I find that impossible.)

Another important person who turned up was Lewis Outing, who is one of the photographers whose bird images appear in Flying High! His upturned duck photo (on page 65 of the book) raised a laugh from the audience when it was projected onscreen as part of my show. And those ducks are, of course, St Nicks’ ducks – the photo having been taken along the beck that runs through St Nicks.

So here, for the record, am I with the aforementioned Lewis Outing and Mrs Green, and the yet-to-be-mentioned Ivana, who organised the whole event so seamlessly.

From left to right: Me, Lewis Outing, Mrs Green, Ivana from St Nicks

From left to right: Me, Lewis Outing, Mrs Green, Ivana from St Nicks

And as you’ll see, the rain actually held off long enough for all four of us to go outside and have our photo taken! Hurrah!

Ivana says she’s going to put together a little video of the event, so I’ll let you know when that’s available.

Meanwhile, thank you to all concerned with this event (especially to my parents for managing to make it there).

Happy birding, wherever you may be!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High! down Sussex way

I took all 170 minibeast photos that appear in my first book, Buzzing! But when it came to my second book, Flying High!  I knew that I had neither the equipment nor the expertise needed to take the bird photos it required. And so it is that only 9 of the photos in Flying High! were taken by me. The rest have been taken by extremely talented bird photographers from around Britain. One of whom is Phil Winter.

I’m proud to relate that there are 13 of Phil’s extraordinary bird photos in Flying High!

Phil is from East Sussex. His local newspaper, the Sussex Express, picked up on this story a couple of weeks back, and featured him – and Flying High! – in the following article:

Article from the Sussex Express, July 2017

Article from the Sussex Express, July 2017

Which photos in Flying High! are by Phil? Well, they’re all listed under his name on the Acknowledgements pages. They include Tawny Owls at night on page 116, a Blackbird begging for food on page 50 and a Robin in the snow that opens the Winter section on page  96. Check them out. They’re stunning.

Meanwhile, on the Gallery page here, you can see a photo of the farm on which Phil takes lots of his photos. (Well, it’s mostly a photo of the lovely little girls who live on the farm – but you get a glimpse of the landscape too!)

Thank you to Phil, and to all the talented photographers who’ve allowed their photos to be included in Flying High!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Tang Hall Family Festival

There was lots – and I mean lots – going on at the Tang Hall Family Festival in York yesterday. It was spread over three sites – Tang Hall Community Centre, St Nicks and Hull Road Park. And it was all free.

I got to two of the three sites. Here are some snaps to give you a flavour of what was going on at the Tang Hall Community Centre site, where I was leading story-telling sessions.

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What did I get up to there? Well, I led a story-telling/poetry quest, in which Prince Dennis of Tanghallia explored his kingdom and successfully fulfilled his mission, thus becoming King Dennis of Tanghallia.

And then I welcomed princesses into the golden palace of Tanghallia, where they rode on unicorns and sang songs in praise of Tanghallia. (It may have looked to you as if we were in a yellow gazebo standing on beanbag cubes, but that just shows how little imagination you have!) (By the way, you may remember those beanbag cubes from my visit to Tang Hall Community Centre last December, during which they became sledges and snowballs and pyramids.)

And then those same princesses shed their royal connections and created a story in which we all flew (using our magic powers, natch) to Africa, where we went on an adventure to catch a venomous snake.

I learned last time I was at Tang Hall that the children have amazing amounts of imagination and creative energy, and it was a great pleasure to encourage them to put these into action again on this occasion.

Then, just as I was leaving the site to go home, two children came up to me and asked me to perform some poems for them. How could I refuse? To start with they each chose one of my Buzzing! photos, and I performed the poem that went with each one. But have I mentioned how creative the children round these parts are? When they chose their third photo (a caterpillar), I was about to start performing my caterpillar poem, when they decided – quite rightly – that they could do just as good a job themselves. So there and then, they wrote – and then performed – a caterpillar poem of their own. Which went like this:

My spikes are so hairy
They’re big and they’re scary
And people are frightened of me
I change my ways
And how I behave
And crawl from tree to tree.

By Maisie and Nathan, both aged 10

Owzat?!

Thank you to Tang Hall Big Local for inviting me to be part of this Family Festival, and to Tang Hall Community Centre Manager Stephen Collins for letting me use his wonderful beanbag cubes again.

A big thank you, too, to all the fabulously enthusiastic festival-goers who welcomed me back to Tang Hall Community Centre so warmly, and who joined in my events yesterday.

The icing on the cake for me was that I discovered that up on the wall in the Community Centre lounge are two beautifully framed photos taken during my December story-telling workshops. I was absolutely thrilled to see them there.

A participant in my December 2016 Tang Hall story-telling workshops.

One of the photos from my December 2016 Tang Hall story-telling workshops that’s now gracing the walls of the Community Centre.

So, that’s a brief run-down of the Tang Hall Community Centre part of this 3-venue festival. (Though I forgot to mention the belly dancers, the bouncy castle, the ukelele players, the face painter, the pizza making, the ice lollies, the virtual reality headset, and … and … and!) I also looked in at the St Nicks part of the festival yesterday too. But I’ll tell you about that another time.

Meanwhile, if you live down Tang Hall way, do keep tabs on all the great activities that Tang Hall Big Local puts on.

STOP PRESS: And for a video of the Family Festival events, see

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Literary Limerick No. 5

So, how did I choose which novel was to feature in my Literary Limerick No. 5? Well, I met Horatio Clare at a Ryedale Book Festival event last month. We were both on the same bill – a nature-themed day in Scampston Walled Garden. And what a jolly interesting chap Horatio turned out to be!There was an array of his books on sale at the festival bookstall. Being a bird person, I bought the one with a bird in the title: A Single Swallow.

Now, I’m not a travel-book person. Or rather, I didn’t think I was. But Horatio’s book about following the route swallows take from Africa to here was so exquisitely written, so beguiling and entrancing, that I’m going to have to revise my opinion of travel writing!

One of the countries Horatio – and the swallows – visit on their journey is Algeria. Which led me to the book for my next literary limerick. It’s a novel set in Algeria. Can you guess which novel it is?

Did you get it?

I share Horatio’s sentiment: ‘Like so many who are first taught to read French through the strong simplicity of Albert Camus, Algeria to me was Camus’ country.’

If only La Peste didn’t seem so relevant to the times we find ourselves living in …

On a lighter note, try your hand at more of my Literary Limericks here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean- theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life