Insect Festival comes to York!

Come along to the action-packed jamboree that is the Insect Festival, being held this Sunday 7 July at the Museum Gardens in York. There’s masses to see and do. Take a look at the programme here.

Festival Organiser Luke Tilley and I will be talking about the Festival on Radio York at around 8.30am this  Saturday, so tune in then to find out more!

At the Festival itself I’ll be signing copies of my Buzzing! book – at the Brambleby Books stand (no. 10, on the ground floor). Hope to see you there!

Insect Festival 2013 Poster_web

Buzzing! Book Signing at the Insect Festival

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – 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

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:

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

‘A brilliant day’ in Spalding

‘A brilliant day’ was how Sally Harrison, manager of the South Holland Centre in Lincolnshire described our Buzzing! visit to Spalding last Saturday, 6 August.

Buzzing! in Spalding, as reported in the Spalding Guardian

Buzzing! in Spalding, as reported in the Spalding Guardian (click to read the whole article)

John Rayson and I performed our Buzzing! show to an enthusiastic audience at the South Holland Centre, after which I led a Millipedes Galore workshop in the beautiful nearby Ayscoughfee Gardens. (Read all about it)

Children and grown-ups alike proved themselves very adept at being a millipede (see photo above) and at making up a poem and at finding all sorts of minibeasts, including hoverflies, woodlice, ants, worms, butterflies and lots and lots of 7-spot ladybirds.

When I left, one little girl asked her parents when she could come to a Buzzing! show again. Mission accomplished!

Thank you to all the staff at the South Holland Centre for making John and me so welcome. And thank you to the parents and children who accompanied me back to the South Holland Centre after the workshop, and for pointing me in the direction of the station!

To put on a Buzzing! day where you are, contact me, Anneliese Emmans Dean

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

I’m back now from performing my award-winning eco-show Buzzing! at the Edinburgh Fringe 2010. What an experience – with 6 consecutive shows and a live interview (and poetry performance) on BBC radio!

Outside our venue at the Edinburgh Fringe

Outside our venue at the Edinburgh Fringe

I was performing, with my musician John Rayson, at venue no. 28, the Patrick Geddes Room at the gorgeous Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

With John Rayson at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, for our Fringe run

With John Rayson at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, for our Fringe run

How did our run go? Well, I’ll let our audiences tell you:

‘As soon as the show finished, I turned to mummy and said “I wish it could have gone on all day!”‘ Alex, age 11

‘My daughter (age 6) loves minibeast hunts and she loved this show. Great sounds, great visuals – what’s not to like?’ Deborah Curd,

‘I thought she was amazing, mad, creative and John’s music was mind-blasting!’ Nina, age 10

‘Fascinating – gripping from start to finish.’ Bill (retired)

‘Really interesting and exciting. The poems and songs were amazing and the pictures were absolutely stunning. The whole show was wonderful.’ Gemma, age 11

‘Learnt so much in such a short space of time about my garden friends and enemies.’ Pamela (retired)

‘The best show we’ve seen at the Fringe!’ Klara (9) and Julian (12)

And we had this review from  Primary Times:

‘For all eco enthusiasts, minibeast fans and nature lovers, this is an absolute must.  But even if you are not one of the above, this is a terrific show with poetry, songs, music and incredible projected photography. Anneliese Emmans Dean is not only passionate about her subject, she is also a gifted performer and can’t fail to enthuse her audience. My children, ages 10, 8 and 5 years, were gripped throughout the show.  They particularly enjoyed the ‘guess the photo’ as images changed to the accompaniment of the viola player.  They were fascinated by the poetry, and how different styles of delivery created the identity of each insect. One girl in the audience amazed us all with her incredible knowledge of entomology, but there was chance for everyone to be involved.  Whilst the show itself was very educational, the style was great fun, and stimulated many questions for after the show.  All the children (and most adults!) were awash with questions for Anneliese, and whilst she brilliantly answered them all, she also encouraged us to seek out more for ourselves.  She has definitely re-ignited our interest, and given us some more great ideas to fill the remainder of the summer holidays.’

So, all in all, job well done!

Many thanks to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for hosting us – especially to Amy for her impeccable and extremely friendly organisation, and to Sheena and all her staff, and Giles and Anna. To Yvonne and her family (especially Lewis) for all their marketing work on our behalf. To Nina for her warm welcome. And to my husband Mike for being front of house staff, flyer-giver-outer, chauffeur, roadie and general factotum.

And a huge thank you to all our audiences – a very international bunch, from Scotland, England, Singapore, Venezuela, Ireland, Spain, USA … and no doubt other countries I didn’t find out about. Thank you for coming along, and for being so enthusiastic about our show. I wish you all happy bug hunting, wherever you are!

Fancy putting on a Buzzing! show where you are? Then contact me, Anneliese, on

Find out more at my website,

Edgbaston High School for Girls

It was with some trepidation that I tried out  my Brummie accent on a hall full of pupils at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham on Friday morning. My attempt was greeted with howls of laughter. Howls of derision? Howls of recognition? Who knows … But I did have a great day at the school!

After my Buzzing! show (about insect girl power in the garden), I set about putting on poetry workshops for the girls in Years 7, 8 and 9. This was a big responsibility, as the poems they wrote are going to be entered into a House Competition for Science Week!

I don’t envy the teachers judging the competition, as the girls came up with some fantastic poems in a vast range of styles, including rap, haikus, free verse and rhyming couplets …

I could tell you more, but it’s my turn to write a poem for a deadline now! I need to go off  and work on the poem I’ve been commissioned to write for the Radio 2 Arts Show this Friday (19th March). I’ve been invited on the show to discuss World Poetry Day with the great Roger McGough and host, Eve Pollard.

Just time now to thank everyone at Edgbaston High School for Girls for their warm welcome, and especially to Caroline Greenwood for all the work she put in to ensure the day ran so smoothly.

See photos of the day here.

Stop press: I’ve since been invited back to work with the Prep School. Looking forward to that enormously!

Anneliese Emmans

Ladybirds 2010

When I arrived home from my after-dinner Buzzing! show at York Racecourse yesterday, I was delighted to be greeted by this sight:

First ladybird of the year, 4 March 2010, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

First ladybird of the year, 4 March 2010, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

My first 7-spot ladybird of the year! I duly noted this sighting at Nature’s Calendar, where I have been recording such sightings since 2005. My records there show that the earliest I had seen a 7-spot was in 2007, when I saw one on the first day of the year. The latest was in 2008, when I didn’t see one until 27 March.

If you don’t already record your sightings at Nature’s Calendar, I recommend the site to you – both for your own interest, and for the importance of your data to scientists nationwide. It’s very simple to do, and you can choose to record sightings of different insects, birds, flowers, trees and amphibians.

And whilst we’re on the subject of ladybirds in York, I was interested to hear a local ladybird story from a lady in the audience of my lunch-time show yesterday. She told me about an infestation of what I took to be harlequin ladybirds in her neighbour’s house by the river Foss in York. That’s the first I’ve heard of harlequins appearing in such numbers in York. I hope it’s not a taste of things to come … (You’ll recall I spotted my first harlequin ladybirds in York in 2007 – read all about it.)

Back to my lovely 7-spots. It looks like spring is on its way now that they’ve reappeared. (I spotted two in the same bush yesterday.)  And not before time, after all this cold and snow we’ve had this winter! Now then, I wonder when I’ll see my first 2-spot and 22-spot ladybirds …

Anneliese Emmans