Young People’s Laureate
For London


Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi gives London’s young people a voice through poetry.

The Young People’s Laureate’s mission is to:

• Raise the visibility of poetry in the capital, nationally and internationally;
• Engage and inspire London’s young people with poetry
(aged 13 – 25) through the issues that affect them;
• Support the development of London’s talented young poets
(aged 18 – 25 years) in a tangible way.

Each year an esteemed judging panel selects a poet to become the Young People’s Laureate for London. Caleb Femi was appointed the first Young People’s Laureate for London in October 2016.

During his tenure, Caleb will be engaging young people across London with poetry through: residencies and commissions; co-curating a Poetry Lab and a Poetry Salon for talented young poets and launching the Young People’s Poetry Prize.

The programme is funded by Foundation for Future London, and supported by a wide range of partners.

You can keep up to date with what the Young People’s Laureate for London is doing here, or through social media #LaureateforLondon. If you’d like to book the Laureate for a residency, event or commission, please email

2016 Judges

Jacob Sam-La Rose

Young People’s Laureate for London Judge 2016

Joelle Taylor

Young People’s Laureate for London Judge 2016

Pascale Petit

Young People’s Laureate for London Judge 2016

Nick Makoha

Young People’s Laureate for London Judge 2016


I feel honoured and excited to be the first Young People’s Laureate for London. I know what a huge role this is and I am ready to give it my all. I hope to re-engage young people, who have long been disenfranchised, with poetry. Poetry is the one of the purest forms of conversation there is. At its best, it allows us to communicate from an honest and safe place. Young people deserve to be included in such spaces

Caleb Femi

Young People's Laureate for London showcase


Caleb Femi

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The ceiling of this city

leaks light and only the bricks

drink it like pancakes would

syrup maybe on a Sunday.


We are the dreams we carry

in our lungs when we sit in

underground tunnels like things

born of moles and studs.


So quick to forget there is a

blue morning behind grey clouds.

We are wearing the light wrong.

This city is a she-wolf howling in half light;

a basin of new starts.


© Caleb Femi 2016

How the light goes out

Caleb Femi

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A room house,

kitchen, unlit.


A jade pot;

worry-stricken and

holding bits of fig tree.

Stove, unlit.


Andrew Street, where the table

cloth came from. On it, a candle

fidgets. Here, two

hearts, one

on either

side. Unlit.


© Caleb Femi 2016

The kids don’t play outside anymore

Caleb Femi

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Seasoned knock-down-ginger children,

slick like the stork hit an oil spill on its delivery.

Their giggles still bounce colour on door frames,

brave like the time before fire burnt.

The very same children labelled thugs and

crooked, like if forced, trees don’t bend to eat sunlight.

They made the estates, with its gothic fright stance,

their garden of play.


© Caleb Femi 2016

Coconut Oil

Caleb Femi

Caleb Femi performs at Sofar London

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Caleb Femi performs Coconut Oil at Sofar Sounds 

Heartbreak & Grime Documentary

Caleb Femi

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It’s built on the work of some extremely talented poets over the previous three years of the Young Poet Laureate scheme – Selina Nwulu, Aisling Fahey and Warsan Shire. The future of this programme, which sees a large expansion of Spread the Word’s youth outreach and a broadening of opportunities for young people across London, looks exciting. This is a scheme that will make a difference to the young people, and the young poets, of London.

Jacob Sam La-Rose


Get in touch with Spread the Word if you are interested in
commissioning or booking Caleb Femi, Young People’s Laureate for London.

T 020 8692 0231 ext 249



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