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 DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

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Buzzing! for grown-ups

For a Buzzing! review with a difference, may I point you in the direction of Mark Avery’s blog?  There you’ll find an assessment not only of the content of my book, but also of my drinking habits and even the quality of my handwriting!

The bit about my book is interesting as it gives you a grown-up’s perspective on Buzzing! Which, in Mark’s case, is that:

‘The poems are very catchy and often contain a lot of information – learning the poems is an easy way to learn the information … This seems like one of those rare successful mixtures of science and art … I really like the book.’

Phew! And I, as it happens, really like the book Mark Avery has written called Fighting for Birds. I shall tell you more about his book on another occasion, but for now you can find out more about it here and more about Mark (whom you may recall I met at the Hay Festival recently, when we were both recording programmes for BBC Radio 4) here.

If you too are a grown-up and would like to experience a live grown-up version of Buzzing!, then come along to the ‘green heart of York’ that is St Nicks this coming Tuesday 15 July, where I’ll be performing a promenade version of Buzzing!

The nature reserve at St Nicks is a fabulous place to wander through on a summer’s evening (weather permitting), so who knows what flora and fauna we’ll find there. Indeed, some of its fauna found their way into my Buzzing! book, and I’ll be showing you exactly where I found them and took the photos.

A Cinnabar moth caterpillar that features in my Buzzing! book and that I found and photographed at St Nicks, York

A Cinnabar moth caterpillar that I photographed at St Nicks, York, and that features in my Buzzing! book

The evening starts at 6.30pm with formal St Nicks matters. You can arrive in time for that or come a little later, at around 7pm, when the promenade will begin.

Either way, the evening’s events are free, and will be followed by a (discounted!) Buzzing! book signing session at the end of the promenade, with 20% of the price going to St Nicks.

St Nicks is just off Melrosegate in York. You can find directions here.

I’ve performed lots of Buzzing! shows for grown-ups before, but I’ve never done a promenade version, so this will be a world first! I do hope you can come and join us.

(P.S. Older children are welcome along too!)

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

I was in extremely august company on Saturday:

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, former President of the Royal Society

Yes, I was in the heart of London at the exceedingly beautiful home of the Royal Society. I’d been invited there to take part in this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition:

14-07-Royal-Society-cr-03b

My invitation came as a result of my Buzzing! book having been shortlisted for last year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.

So I performed a special Buzzing! show there, inspired by a former Fellow of said Royal Society, one Charles Darwin.

My Buzzing! event at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2014

My Buzzing! event at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2014

I had the good fortune to chat with some of my audience before and after my show, and what a lively, bright, interesting and interested bunch they were. (And how very complimentary their accompanying adults were about my show!)

After my book signing I took the opportunity to look around at some of the exhibits at the exhibition. Fascinating!

The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is an annual event showcasing the most exciting cutting- edge science and technology in the UK. And it’s all free! If you’re interested in science, I definitely recommend you go next year. As you’ll see from the Royal Society website, there are events specially for children, and ones for adults too.

My tip: if it’s raining, take a brolly as you might have to queue to get in – it’s that popular! (And rightly so!)

Queuing to get into the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, July 2014

Queuing to get into the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, July 2014

Thank you to Marie-Claude Dupuis of the Royal Society and her band of helpers for ensuring my event ran so smoothly.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High at York Literature Festival

Do you like birds? Are you between 5 and 12 years old? Then come along to the brand new show, Flying High!, that storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I are putting on for York Literature Festival on Friday 22 March at Jacob’s Well off Micklegate in York.

I’d advise you to book early, as the last two York Literature Festival family shows Catherine and I put on were sell-outs!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Flying High at York Literature Festival on Friday 22 March 2013

Flying High at York Literature Festival on Friday 22 March 2013

Book tickets here or phone on 01904 623568.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Buzzing! Reading Café

Compare and contrast! This was Rowntree Park in York a week last Tuesday (25 September), just as it was being closed because the River Ouse had burst its banks and flooding was imminent:

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

And this was the same view yesterday (6 October):

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Here again, the park on 25 September:

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

Versus the same view yesterday:

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Though the Ouse has gone down now, the water seems to be staying firmly put in Rowntree Park.

‘The ducks are happy!’ said a young boy looking down on the remarkable view yesterday, as I was, from the balcony of the Rowntree Park Reading Café. Being high up, and having its own park entrance, the café is still open. Which is just as well, as that meant my Buzzing! event there could go ahead.

This was the first children’s event to be held in the wonderful Reading Café, and it was organised by City of York Library Services. I put on a Buzzing! show, and this was followed by a Buzzing! book signing and some wonderful minibeast craft activities, courtesy of Park Ranger Rachel Bell.

Judging by the smiles on people’s faces, the number of Buzzing! books they bought and the fabulous crafts they made, I’d say this first event seems to have been a success. Take a look for yourself:

A minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event in Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

A minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event in Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

Tansy beetle key ring, made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

Tansy beetle key ring, made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

I’d like to thank Danielle and her staff at the café for working around us on a busy Saturday, Frances Postlethwaite of the Library Service for inviting me to put on the event and for joining in with my show, as did Rachel Bell, whose craft activities were such a hit.

'Rainbow' dragonfly made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

‘Rainbow’ dragonfly made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

I’d also like to thank Stephen Lewis of The Press for the fabulous article he wrote for last Saturday’s edition, which several audience members told me was what had brought them to the Reading Café event.

Bumblebee made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

Bumblebee made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

What I enjoyed most about the afternoon was seeing grandparents, parents and children all enjoying themselves together. Very rewarding.

Multi-generational Buzzing! book buyers, Rowntree Park Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Multi-generational Buzzing! book buyers, Rowntree Park Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Oh, and I was particularly chuffed when one father told me that he and his family had come along to my Buzzing! show at York Theatre Royal last year, and that when his daughter had seen the recent Press article about this event, she had insisted they come along to see me again. Gosh! What a compliment!

My next City of York Library Buzzing! event is on 1st November at 10.30am at Haxby Library. Tickets are free, and you can book yours on 01904 552660, or Haxby.library@york.gov.uk See you there!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Book now for York Literature Festival cabaret evening!

Forget all your troubles and cares at York Literature Festival on Saturday 31st March. We’ve an evening of cabaret entertainment from some class acts (and me!) There’ll be words, music and laughter from a fabulous line-up of very talented folk:

York Literature Festival event flyer

An evening not to be missed, taking place at Temple Hall, York St John University, in the centre of York. Doors open at 7.45pm.
Book your tickets now from the York Theatre Royal Box Office, on 01904 623568.

Ledbury Poetry Festival: Schools

Ledbury is a beautiful historic town in Herefordshire that plays host to a fabulous poetry festival each year (where I myself have performed).

Across the rooftops of historic Ledbury

Across the rooftops of historic Ledbury

But the Ledbury Poetry Festival is far from being a once-a-year flash in the pan.  It works throughout the year to promote poetry amongst  people across the age range. And as part of this work, I had the great good fortune to be invited back to Ledbury last week to work in a couple of local schools.

I very much enjoyed my visits to Cradley Primary School and Bromesberrow Primary School, where I was welcomed warmly by the staff and pupils.

Bromesberrow Primary School in Herefordshire

Bromesberrow Primary School in Herefordshire

What did I get up to in these schools? Well, I’ll let the Cradley News tell you:

‘Poet and photographer Anneliese Emmans Dean entertained us all with her brilliant ‘Buzzing!’ show – a selection of her wonderful poems and stunning photographs with musical interludes. We also learned quite a lot of science along the way! Anneliese worked with all the children throughout the day: Years 3 and 4 wrote beetle haiku poems; Years 5 and 6 wrote minibeast poems and Key Stage 1 became a giant millipede!’

There are some very talented budding poets down Cradley and Bromesberrow way, and I very much enjoyed working with them and watching them perform their poems at the end of the day.  I was also thrilled to read some of the poems that KS1 pupils had written in class after our Millipedes Galore workshop. Take a look at this wonderfully imaginative piece from Owen, for example:

Owen's poem

Owen's poem

There are also some talented naturalists. When I got to the ladybird section of my Buzzing! show, for instance, the pupils at Bromesberrow told me they had a whole crowd of ladybirds in the very room I was performing in.  So, I went to have a look, and lo and behold it was  a cluster of Harlequin ladybirds.

Harlequin ladybirds in Herefordshire

Harlequin ladybirds in Herefordshire

I had heard of Harlequin ladybirds massing like this, but I’d never actually seen them doing so. They provided a very useful springboard into our beetle poetry writing. But I’m not sure I’d like a whole host of them in my house!

I’m letting the Harlequin Ladybird Survey know about this sighting. If you see Harlequins where you are, do tell the survey.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in my Herefordshire adventure, including the wonderful Fran Godfrey, who ferried me through beautiful countryside to the right schools at the right time, Victoria Patch and Chloe Garner of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and Alan who allowed us to stay in his beautiful house.

And if you’d like to be edu-tained with my ‘brilliant’ Buzzing! show at your school, just get in touch: info@theBigBuzz.biz

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life