Flying High! wins ‘Excellence in Writing’ award

I was in the stunning setting of York Minster last Thursday night, along with many hundreds of other people from the creative scene in York. We were gathered for the second annual York Culture Awards, celebrating cultural achievements in York.

I was shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in Writing’ category for my book Flying High! Discover the poetry in British birds, and I’m thrilled to be able to say that I won!

Photo taken by Paula Duck

I’m particularly thrilled as the award I was given is absolutely stunning. It’s been created by craftsmen at York Minster from a 14th-century roof beam from the North transept of the Minster (where our ceremony was being held). Priceless!

It looks like it’s charred around the edges, so I’m assuming it was removed from the roof as a result of a fire. I’ll have to find out more!

The whole evening was a great celebration of York’s cultural vitality and variety, and included, in addition to the announcement of the award winners, performances from local choirs. A highlight for me was the sublime performance by the Ebor Singers, in the Chapter House, of Sleep by Eric Whitacre.

I’d like to thank all those involved in the award, including the judges, MakeItYork, and the sponsors of my particular category, RED Publications, who said of my book:

Described as ‘poetry meets ornithology’, Flying High! is a gorgeous guide to British birds for children (and grown ups) mixing up entertaining poems, science facts and amazing feathery photos.

Andy said: “Anneliese’s award was well deserved – Flying High! is a brilliant book for getting youngsters interested in wildlife. We were delighted to be involved in this year’s York Culture Awards – it’s great to be able to help shine a light on our local creative talent here in York.

“Well done Anneliese – and congratulations to all the winners!”

Congratulations to all the winners indeed. You can see them below, find out more about them here, and look through more photos of the ceremony here. ( You’ll see that the York Festival of Ideas won the award for ‘Best Cultural Event or Festival’. As it happens, Flying High! was launched at that very festival!)

Winners of the York Culture Awards 2017. (Photo by Paula Duck)

At the end of the ceremony I was nabbed by Kay Hyde, from MakeItYork, who asked me if I’d like to go on Radio York the next day to talk about the ceremony and my award. Seemed like a good idea to me, so I blithely said ‘Yes’. Only to discover that they wanted me there at 7.30 the next morning!

This is what I sound like when I’m interviewed (by Joanita Musisi) at 7.30am the morning after the night before:

Big thanks to my publishers, Brambleby Books, Flying High!’s designer, Tanya Warren of Creatix Design, Prof. Sir John Lawton for supporting the project by writing the Foreword, and all the talented photographers whose stunning photos appear in the book.

If you’ve yet to get a hands on the book, you can order a signed copy here, dedicated to you! I hope you enjoy it!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life


The WOW Factor

If you thought The X Factor was exciting, you should have been at the Grand Final of The P Factor in Malton on Friday. It was amazing!

The P Factor is part of the Ryedale Book Festival, and is the brilliant brainchild of award-winning Ryedale-based author Andy Seed. The idea is to get children across Ryedale learning and performing poems (of their own choosing). The early rounds of the competition are held in the schools themselves, then the winning group from each school comes to Malton to perform at The Grand Final.

Teams from 11 Ryedale primary schools turned out to perform this year. I was one of the four Grand Final judges, along with fellow poets Messers John Hegley, Steve Nash and Andy Seed, all of whom performed for the children in the morning.

The 2015 P Factor judges - Steven Nash, Andy Seed, me and John Hegley

The 2015 P Factor judges – Steven Nash, Andy Seed, me and John Hegley

Then, come the afternoon, we had the great privilege of watching teams from all 11 schools perform a huge variety of poems, from funny ones to frightening ones, silly ones to sad ones. Dressed up and armed with a wide variety of props, the children all shone as they performed their poems on stage, under bright lights, to an audience of nearly 300.

The children came from the following schools: Terrington St Mary’sSt Joseph’sSt Benedict’sSettringtonNortonLangtonKirkbymoorsideGillamoorFostonAmotherby. And I’d like to congratulate every single participant from every single one of those schools. You were fantastic!

However, we had to choose a winner. Not easy! But our unanimous decision was that the runners-up were Amotherby Primary School, and the winners were … Kirkbymoorside Primary School, with a fabulous multi-media performance of Michael Rosen’s ‘End of the World’ that included an erupting volcano. You can see pictures of the Year 4 winners in a reprise of their performance on the school’s website.

The winning team was presented with medals and a cup by none other than the Mayor of Malton:

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Joan Lawrence, at the 2015 P Factor Grand Final.

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Joan Lawrence, at the 2015 P Factor Grand Final.

The Very Great John Hegley declared the day to have been ‘better than the X Factor’. And who am I to disagree?

The 2015 P Factor Winners from Kirkbymoorside Primary School, getting ready to go home after their triumphant performance.

The 2015 P Factor Winners from Kirkbymoorside Primary School, getting ready to go home after their triumphant performance.

Thank you to all the pupils, parents and teachers who put so much work into this competition. It was all well, well worthwhile. And thank you to Andy Seed and Sarah Tyson of Ryedale Book Festival for making the competition happen.

If you’re a Ryedale primary school and would like to take part in next year’s P Factor, then email Ryedale Book Festival.

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life

Best in class?

Stop press: Send your votes by 8pm on Sunday 1st November to (My book Buzzing! is in the Poetry category.)

Calling all primary teachers, teaching assistants and school librarians! What books do you find work best in class? I ask because the shortlist for the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award has just been announced, and the organisers would like you to vote for which of these books you think will work best in your classrooms.

Screen shot of Website of the North Somerset Teachers Book Award

The North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award is a new award. As you can see from the screenshot above, it aims to:

‘champion a selection of the best children’s literature on offer for use in the primary classroom.

As professionals who work with children every day, we are passionate about raising the profile of quality children’s literature which will engage and inspire children to develop a life-long love of reading.’

Hear hear! And given all that, I’m mighty proud that they have shortlisted my book Buzzing! – Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts in the Poetry category. The other two poetry contenders are My Rhino Plays the Xylophone by Graham Denton and What Are We Fighting For? by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens.

Cover of my book Buzzing!

As I mentioned when I was longlisted in August, the award review of Buzzing! highlights many of the features of the book that I had hoped would appeal to readers in general and teachers in particular. I wanted to create a book in which science met poetry, a book that would present a cross-curricular approach to minibeasts, a book that would enhance and support teachers in their practice. And a book that would make you giggle! (Learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme being what I’m all about.)

Have I succeeded in this? Well, judge for yourselves! You can download a free sample from Buzzing! and a free Buzzing! teacher resource from my website. (Where you can also order copies of the book, if you are so minded.)

Meanwhile, here are some quotes from the award review of Buzzing!:

‘Never have minibeasts been more appealing than in this book!’

‘As you read [the poems], you find yourself getting into the rhythm of the lines and wanting to read aloud.’

‘Another strength of this book is the fact that it encourages the reader to find out more’

‘A great resource for livening up lessons on life processes and living things!’

‘Fun to use as a cross curricular resource or for performance poetry!’

You can find out more about how Buzzing! came into being in this perspicacious interview, carried out for the award by 12-year-old Tayler.

I think this award is a very valuable initiative – and not just because my book has been nominated! I believe it has great value for teachers, libarians and support staff in primary schools across the country. The award organisers have put a lot of time, expertise and passion into selecting books in five categories (Picture Books, Poetry, Quality Fiction, Read Aloud and Information) that they genuinely believe will support and enhance classroom practice. So do join in, peruse the books on the shortlist – and vote!

A note from the award organisers:

‘Voting is only open to teachers, school librarians, support staff etc. as we really want the winners to be chosen for what teachers think will work in class!’

Email your votes to

(Oh, and if you’d like a Buzzing! visit to your school at some point, just email me.)

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life


Poetry on a Plate!

Back in March I put on some poetry workshops themed around food for schoolchildren attending the York Food for Life Partnership Awards. I’m pleased to announce that the winning food poems written that day have been chosen! They now appear – alongside a poem written by yours truly – on a fabulous placemat in use in cafés and restaurants around York (to tie in with York Food and Drink Festival).

You can see a small version of the mat here:

Poetry on a plate placemat

But to see the mat in all its glory, pop along to one of the following wonderful eateries in York, where it will be in use on your table:

Will you be able to guess the mystery fruit or vegetable described in the winning poems by Mac Scott of Fishergate Primary School, Morgan Caunt of Clifton Green Primary School and Iona Downing of Poppleton Road Primary School?

You’ll see there’s a space on the mat for you to write your food poem. If you love food and love words too, then get writing! York Food and Drink Festival is running a poetry competition on the theme of food, and they’re looking forward to receiving your entry – in either the under 16s or over 16s category. Your poem should be no more than 40 lines long. Winners will receive exclusive foodie prizes, and have the chance to have their poem displayed in York.

The competition closes at the end of the Food Festival, at midnight on 27 September – so get writing! You can find out more and submit your entry here.

A big Thank You to Vikki Pendry of York Edible Schools, Chloe Smee of the Food for Life Partnership and the good folk at York Food and Drink Festival for making this placemat project happen.

Bon appétit!

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life

Royal Society Award Ceremony

It’s been an exciting journey since May, when my Buzzing! book was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. That journey reached its climax on Monday when I made my way to the Royal Society’s beautiful home in Carlton Terrace, London, for the announcement of the prize winner. There I was reunited with the book’s publisher, Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books, and the designer, Tanya Warren of Creatix.

At the Royal Society award ceremony with publisher NIcola Loxdale of Brambleby Books and designer Tanya Warren of Creatix

At the Royal Society award ceremony with publisher Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books and designer Tanya Warren of Creatix

Also gathered there were the authors of the 5 other shortlisted books, plus their guests and, of course, the judges. Well, the adult judges. You’ll recall the final arbiters were around 1,000 children and young people nationwide who had been sent the 6 shortlisted books from which to choose a winner. Here’s what some of them thought of our books:

Hosting the evening was the Royal Society’s President, Sir Paul Nurse, and announcing the winner was the chair of the adult judging panel, Professor John Goodby (whose comments about Buzzing! you can read here.)

And the winner was …? Not me – unfortunately – but Rob Lloyd Jones for his wonderful book Look Inside Space. Congratulations, Rob! A worthy winner!

Winner Rob Lloyd Jones, with his trophy, surrounded by fellow authors and judges and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

Winner Rob Lloyd Jones with his trophy, surrounded by fellow authors and judges and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

This Young People’s Book Prize has been sponsored by an anonymous donor, to whom I am very grateful. All us runner-up authors received a handsome cheque, presented to us by some of the child judges, from Ellen Wilkinson school. The highlight of my evening was when a little girl from this school came up to me after the ceremony and told me that she had liked my book best. Not only that, but her friend Yu had liked mine best too!

"I liked your book the best"

“I liked your book the best”

Thank you to everyone involved in organising and judging the award. I met a whole host of fascinating people at the event on Monday, not least the very talented authors of the other shortlisted books. I commend all their books to you, and wish them all the best in their future writing endeavours.

So, off I go now to finish off my next writing endeavour …

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing Poetry to Life

The Carnegie Medal …

I am thrilled to report that my Buzzing! book has been nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal.

The Carnegie Medal is one of the most prestigious prizes in writing for children. It is awarded annually by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for an outstanding book for children and young people.

The longlist announced today is full of Big Names I admire enormously, such as Anne Fine, David Almond and Kevin Crossley-Holland. So it’s a huge honour to find my name appearing on the same list as them.

Of course those big names are mostly published by big, mainstream publishers, so I’m doubly chuffed that my book, brought out by small, independent publisher Brambleby Books, should have made it onto the list.

Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Thank you to everyone involved.

Find out more about my Buzzing! book, and view sample pages, here

Order your copy here

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz

UK Songwriting Contest 2010

Well, you can’t win ’em all, but I was quite chuffed to discover I was a semi-finalist in the prestigious UK Songwriting Contest. Especially as it was the first songwriting competition I’d ever entered.

The UK Songwriting Contest is, and I quote, ‘an international contest that invites entries from all parts of the world and it is the favourite songwriting event of many writers from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Asia and Europe.’

I was a semi-finalist in the Lyrics category, for my entry ‘This is it’. These lyrics were inspired by the life – and death – of Michael Jackson.

I went to see the film ‘This is it‘, which is about the rehearsals for what was to have been Michael Jackson’s world tour of the same title.

It was so inspiring to see such musical talent. And so sad to think that it had been snuffed out so swiftly and prematurely.

A lesson to us all, I thought. And so my song was born …

My song is about Michael Jackson. But it’s also about the important contribution each and every one of us makes during our short stay on the planet.

It would be great to hear it sung over the airwaves one day …

As it happens, this is the second song I have written inspired by Michael Jackson. The first one was very different in tone. It was commissioned by the acclaimed early music vocal group The Clerks for their Clerks Songbook, and was premiered at Kings Place in London last August. Find out more!

Meanwhile, I got to hear both of my eco-musicals performed this week! ‘Go MAD!‘ (A global warming warning) was performed by pupils at Lord Deramore’s Primary School as part of their science week, and ‘Compost! The (mini-)Musical‘ was performed by Brownies at York Carnival!

Find out more about my BigBuzz eco-musicals

Anneliese Emmans