Top children’s writer from Roehampton lines up support for London Borough of Culture bid

Published: Friday, October 13, 2023

Over 1,400 children from 29 Wandsworth schools have enjoyed a taste of poetry this week with Joseph Coelho, the national Waterstones Children's Laureate who grew up in Roehampton and is backing our bid for London Borough of Culture.

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Inspiring: Joseph Coelho reads with Year 4 pupils at Roehampton library

Joseph returned to his roots to share his tips on how to start writing poetry and being creative with words in a visit to his former primary schools and ARK Putney Academy (formerly Elliott School).

He said: “It has been a privilege to return to Wandsworth this week and get the opportunity to connect hundreds of children to poetry and writing – inspiring them to express themselves in new creative ways.

"I’m so excited that Wandsworth is going for London Borough of Culture and thrilled to support the bid to bring the title home, back to where it all started for me.”

Pledge your support for Wandsworth to be London Borough of Culture 2025!

On Monday 9 October, more than 1,000 Year 4 pupils and teachers gathered at Wandsworth town hall's Civic Suite to take part in poetry performances and workshops with Joseph and took the opportunity to ask him questions about his favourite book, when he first became a poet and what inspires his writing.

The following day he gave a captivating performance to Year 7 students before being joined by Year 4 students from 10 different primary schools for interactive poetry sessions.

Support: (L-R) Council leader Simon Hogg with Mayor of Wandsworth Juliana Annan and writer Joseph Coelho
Support: (L-R) Council leader Simon Hogg with Mayor of Wandsworth Juliana Annan and writer Joseph Coelho

After unveiling a plaque at Roehampton Library, his childhood library, he called into Wandsworth Town Hall to meet Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Juliana Annan, together with council leader Simon Hogg where they agreed support for Wandsworth's bid to be London Borough of Culture 2025.

Councillor Hogg said: "It was such a pleasure to meet Joseph and hear first-hand about his early life in Wandsworth and his journey to becoming Children's Laureate.

“We are so grateful to him for sharing his inspirational passion for books and poetry with so many of our local schoolchildren - and I'm delighted that he supports our campaign to win London Borough of Culture which would help us to deliver more fantastic creative programmes like this."

In June, Wandsworth launched the campaign for London Borough of Culture 2025, kick-starting six months of engagement with local residents, young people, community and voluntary groups, local partners, businesses and arts organisations. The borough's bid will be sent in to the Mayor of London at the end of November. Find out more about Wandsworth's bid for London Borough of Culture.

The library event was part of Wandsworth's Black History Month celebrations and World Mental Health Day.

Joseph Coelho, whose first job was in a Wandsworth library, unveils his plaque with Mayor of Wandsworth Juliana Annan