My name is Anneliese Emmans Dean. I play with words, promoting sustainability through creativity and learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme.
My poems have been used in projects nationwide since the 1990s. In 2007 I began bringing poetry to life in projects of my own at theBigBuzz. (Why theBigBuzz? It’s so much easier to spell than my name!)
Based in York, England, I travel the country (and beyond) putting on ‘edu-taining’ poetry shows, workshops and eco-musicals for grown-ups, families and/or children at festivals (e.g. the Hay Festival; the Ledbury Poetry Festival), schools, theatres (e.g. Oxford Playhouse), and beyond (e.g. Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition). You can get a flavour of what I do in the images below and by checking out these videos. (Oh, and during our lockdowns I’ve been creating ‘lockdown nature’ video resources for you here.)
My work has won prizes ranging from the New Statesman ‘Encapsulate the plot of a novel in a limerick’ competition, through the Garden Organic National Masters’ Award for Innovation to the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award for Poetry and the York Culture Award 2017 for Excellence in Writing.
I’ve been commissioned to write and perform poems by the BBC for programmes including the Radio 2 Arts Show, Woman’s Hour and Today on Radio 4 and One Planet on the World Service. And when the first female poet laureate, Carole Ann Duffy, was announced, the BBC commissioned me to come up with some advice for her.
I grew up and went to school in York. I went on to study at Cambridge University, where I started off in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and ended up in the Department of Engineering.
All my working life has revolved around words. Before setting up theBigBuzz I worked as a translator (for, e.g., the High Court in London and a former French President), an editor (for educational publishers) and an indexer. Oh, and as a phonetician on the Oxford English Dictionary. I’ve also taught a total of four languages in five countries to people ranging in age from 5 to 65.
I founded theBigBuzz to bring poetry to life and thereby promote:
- sustainability through creativity
- wellbeing through words
- learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme.
Since then … well, I’ve told you a little about what’s been going on since then. Mooch around this site, and you’ll find out more.
Whilst mooching, you’ll notice that I also put on photography workshops. How come? Well, over a period of some years I took all the (close-up minibeast) photos that appear in my award-winning book Buzzing! This led me to develop innovative, hands-on beginners’ nature photography workshops for children, families and grown-ups.
As well as appearing in my own books, my nature photos have been published in the media and the scientific literature, as well as by leading natural history publisher A&C Black and by Marks and Spencer.
I took most of the photos in Buzzing! in my small garden on the outskirts of York. The garden is only about 8 metres long by 8 metres wide, but it’s buzzing with wildlife – as you’ll see from some of the posts in this blog (as well as from my Buzzing! book).
Buzzing! has a Foreword by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and is a National Insect Week recommended children’s book and teachers’ resource. It was nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal, shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and won the 2015 NS Teachers’ Book Award for poetry.
I’m very proud to be the first Patron of ‘The Green Heart of York’, St Nicks, which is a nature reserve and centre for green living near where I live.
If you’d like to invite me to put on an ‘edu-taining’ event where you are, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org