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A trip to the International School of Brussels, a new book, a radio documentary, a coast to coast walk and a chance to be Blackpool Schools Poet in Residence, it seems that 2011 was pretty good year for a jobbing poet like me. The school visit to Belgium was just great. To go to a different country and read my poems out is all a bit surreal to me. I more than happy to read my poems out at a bus stop on a rainy day in Cleckheaton so to go overseas and visit exciting, new places and meet new people and share your poetry is one of the best things a poet can do.
Another highlight was the radio documentary I wrote and presented for BBC Radio Leeds. It wasnít really a young people thing; it was a documentary about Tetleyís, the famous Leeds brewery closing down. To come up with an hour long documentary was a real challenge but one I really enjoyed. Iím hoping to do more of that kind of stuff. The Coast-to-Coast walk across England all 200 miles - was also a dream thing to do. I have wanted to do it for ages, so to do it with a couple of mates, have a laugh and raise over £1600 for poorly young people was probably one of the best and most enjoyable things that I ever done.
And then to round the year off was the publication of my new book POETRY IS NOT PANTS. Itís my third book of poetry for young people. I feel like Iíve got the hat trick now!!
If you want some stats for the year how about these for 2011 124 schools visited, 12 libraries, performed in front of 35,000 young people, 25,000 miles travelled and 500 performances. When you see it written down like that, all those big numbers, itís all a bit scary. But itís not. I am a poet and its what I do!!
Wonder which way the wind will blow in 2012.
POETRY IS NOT PANTSMy new book came out in December 2011. Iím dead chuffed with it. I wrote a lot of the poems quite a while ago and when I got the book and read them all together it was a bit like reading somebody elseís poems. The book looks good and is going down well. If you want to buy some its only available through me so just send me an email and weíll sort it out.
POETRY BURPPoetry Burp is the name of another book of mine, which should be out sometime this year. Itís all written and finished but publishing books can take a while. Hopefully it will be out this summer-ish!! POETRY BURP is a bit different to my other books. As well as loads of new poems there are a few stories, anagrams, palindromes and other bits of weird, wacky and funny stuff to do with words.
TOUR OF KAZAKHSTANIn April 2012 I am hopefully- going to Kazakhstan to visit a couple of schools for a week. I must admit I had to get my atlas out when I was first asked if I wanted to go. For those who donít know itís at the bottom of Russia, next door to China. It will be a real different experience for me if it all comes off. I plan to make a mini documentary about the trip which Iíll put on my website.
HARROGATE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALThis year I am the Harrogate International Festival Poet in Residence for the Rhymes and Crimes project. This involves me working alongside young people on a whole series of workshops over a nine-week period. Harrogate is a lovely place to spend some time so I am looking forward to it.
STREETSPEAKI am still involved with the brilliant STREETSPEAK project. Have a look at their website. STREETSPEAK is football arts project that gets writers and other artists into loads of schools to work with the young people. I have worked for them for a couple of years now and itís always a great thing to do.
PEMBROKESHIRE COASTAL WALKAfter the brilliant success of 2011ís Coast To Coast Charity Walk I am doing the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in Wales in May 2012. My old mate and mucka Andy The Robot Man Amos is coming along again. Just to get up out of your tent, read some poems out in school and then to walk in amazing scenery is about as good as it gets for me!! If path is supposed to be one of the most spectacular walks in the world!!! If the weather is on our side it should be awesome. Canít wait.
"Seeing Craig Bradley doing his thing is a memory that will stay with me forever. Unless it doesn't. I mean, it probably will, but how can I be sure? Forever is a very long time, it's not a concept that's to be bandied about willy-nilly. But look, that's not the point. The point is this: Craig is an unsung hero of poetry, inspiration and generally larking about like an idiot making stupid noises and getting hordes of kids to follow suit. I mean, I thought I was good - and I am, I really am. But Craig blew me away. As soon as he stepped on stage, he took the audience by the scruff of the neck and didn't let go for the next half hour. It was all systems go! Or should I say, all Craigstems go? No, that doesn't work. It was all systems go! He was astonishing. A whirlwind of rhythm and rhyme! A force of nature! An all-round brilliant, mad-haired nutter and one of the very few people I've seen who's made me think, 'Uh oh, this guy's good, better step my game up a bit'. Craig's passion and energy are infectious and seemingly boundless. How does he do it? I don't know, I'm not him. But somehow he does. And if you know what's good for you, you will book the living daylights out of this man's diary from now until forever. And hey, I'm not just bandying that concept around willy-nilly, I really mean it."
Andy Stanton Brilliant Children's writer
Who's Andy Stanton check him and his books out !
POETRY IS NOT PANTS and POETRY BURP are two brand new collections of poems that are due to be published in March 2011. Tonto Books up in Newcastle are publishing them and they will be available to buy either through the website or through Tonto’s website www.tontobooks.co.uk.
JACK DAWSON’S BIG IDEA is a novel I wrote a couple of years ago that has finally found a publisher. Again, Tonto Books are getting it out there around March/April time. The book is aimed at 9-13 year old readers and it’s a new move for me. I’ll be doing events to promote the book from March/April 2011 onwards.
Following on from last year’s mega-successful Brunei trip, I have some more overseas school visits planned for 2011. In April I will be visiting Belgium and the International School of Brussels. In October I am due to visit China and Thailand. There is also a trip to Africa still in the planning stages – perhaps for September. Going to these places is still a bit unbelievable to me. It’s easy to write these things down, but to actually go there and meet new people and read my poems out is a bit mind-blowing!! Belgium!! Art galleries & chocolate!!! China!! Great Wall & noodles!!! Africa!! Giraffes & lions!!!
BLACKPOOL SCHOOLS POET-IN-RESIDENCE:
I am dead chuffed to have been asked to be Blackpool Schools Poet-in-Residence. This will involve me working with up to 10 or more schools in the Blackpool area. We will be writing new poems, going to places for inspiration and producing a poetry book at the end of it. Really looking forward to getting stuck into this project which will start in June.
COAST 2 COAST WALK
This year I am walking 190 miles across the shoulder of England. I did a charity walk last year and really, really enjoyed it so I thought I’d do more of the same (only bigger) this year. I hope to visit 10 schools along the route and I plan to put my tent up on the school football field, get up in the morning and do a performance in assembly, pack my gear up and walk 15 miles to the next school up the road. The walk will take me two weeks, weather and blisters permitting. I will be doing it for the charity Clic Sargent (www.clicsargent.org.uk) who do fantastic work with young people with cancer. I will be doing a special walk blog to keep you all posted.
In September 2010 I will be walking the Dalesway (80 miles) with my good friend, the poet, Ian Bland. I will be calling into schools on the way, performing in assemblies and getting the word out! Clic Sargent is a fantastic charity doing fantastic work, and every penny raised will count - so any donation will be very gratefully received.
Donate online through my Just Giving page click on the link http://www.justgiving.com/thatpoetrybloke
That Poetry Bloke and Sir Ian Botham
The Big Bovril Charity Walk at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire, November 2010
This was part of my visit to Jerudong International School in Brunei. It was an amazing experience. I LOVED IT!!!
Recommendation of the
week fortnight month century!
"Craig came to Liverpool libraries to launch our involvement with the British Library´s Evolving English project and launch it he did. Into the stratosphere! Almost 150 children chanted, chorused & cavorted around the English language in all its glory with unbelievable enjoyment great hilarity. Fantastic. Can´t wait for him to return. The only complaint came from a teacher:"
"Please make him stop. I can´t breathe. All this laughing is killing me."
Patricia Lee, Senior Librarian: Children's Support Services, Liverpool Libraries Satellite Service.
THAT POETRY BLOKE WITH PROFESSOR DOUGLAS DUNN OBE !
I was hosting the Open Mic competition at the Ilkley Literature Festival on October 17th and Douglas was one of the judges. He is a major poet and a lovely bloke.
Last year in March, I did a performance at Calverley Parkside Primary, they are very astute with multimedia and have posted a lot of great clips and photos on their web site, including me! in true mash-up style I have linked it here
The "Teacher Walk" at Sheep Dip Primary School
Fantastic what great graphics ! "It's not what you're looking at, it's how you're looking at it"
Looking back on 2009
Last year was a great year for me as a writer. I published 2 books , went to Northern Ireland again, kept busy and visited around 170 schools. I perform my poetry show 4 times at each school so work that out- it means that I performed about 680 times!!!! That's not including all the other stuff that I do like libraries, working with young offenders and homeless people, going into football clubs and working in the study centres!!!! I loved it. There is to more of the same in Twentyten. Bring it on!!!!!!!
POETRY IS NOT PANTS
My 3rd collection of poetry for young people is coming out soon, hopefully in May. It will include loads of new poems but also some different stuff like short stories. It will also have some crazy stuff in it about words and will include tongue twisters, anagrams ( jumbled up words) and palindromes ( words that are spelt the same backwards like Mum or Dad). A lot of the stuff is bits and pieces I have collected over the years from going into schools. It's gonna be well cool man!! I will let you know when it's out!!
JACK DAWSONS BIG IDEA
This year will see the release of my first novel for young people. It's called Jack Dawson's Big Idea and it is about an 11 year old boy who tries to make the world a better place and messes it all up!!! I will let you know when it's due to come out. It will be great if it's out before the World Cup starts, then I can relax and watch the footy!!
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS TOUR OF BRUNEI
Well, where do I start?? Fiona , the lovely library lady at Jerudong International School saw me on YouTube, emailed me and invited me over. I went over to Brunei to perform in 3 schools - The International School of Brunei, Jerudong International School and Panaga School. It was just the most amazing thing I have ever done, and I have done a few things!!! The young people I met in the schools were really fantastic and treated me like a rock star!! I got clapped and cheered at everything I said. It must be what it's like to be famous. They were really into their poetry and did some great writing and performing themselves. The trip was over far too quickly but it was a real success and something I will NEVER forget. A BIG Thank you!! to all the great people I met and who knows, maybe one day we´ll meet again!!!! I´m keeping my fingers crossed!!!!
I am going to be doing a lot of stuff with Kirklees Youth Offending Team this March. I have achieved loads over the years and enjoy working with the young people I meet. I think its important for writers to get out there and mix with all sorts of different people. So I will be looking forward to it.
I love doing festivals, there seems to be a good vibe around and lots of energy and you meet all sorts of interesting people. So far this year - and it's only February - here are some fests I have been invited to - Hereford Children's Book Awards, Scarborough Literature Festival, Rotherham's Children's Books Festival and Rotherham's Children's Festival. I have also been asked to host the mega important LEEDS CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARDS. I did this last year and it was a great day. It's one I will be looking forward to again.
Other Interesting Stuff
There is all sorts of other interesting stuff coming up. I´m going to work with Creative Partnerships on a school project as well as working in Rotherham on a writing project called Working Heroes. Keeps me out of trouble.
Link to News Archive
"I've seen many sessions by many authors, poets and storytellers but I've never seen any sessions that evoked such a positive response from children, fantastic!!"Anne Burns - School Library Service, Bolton