Young People’s Laureate for London consultation


Spread the Word’s Laureate programme has been running since 2013, initially as the Young Poet Laureate for London, and from 2017 as the Young People’s Laureate for London. The Young People’s Laureate for London was developed to:  

  • Raise the visibility of poetry in the capital, nationally and internationally; 

  • Engage and inspire London’s young people with poetry through the issues that affect them; 

  • Support the development of London’s talented young poets in a tangible way.  

Since 2017, the Young People’s Laureate for London programme has: 

  • Delivered workshops to 9,300 Londoners 

  • Delivered performances to an audience of over 28,400 

  • Reached over 326,000 people with online and digital engagement campaigns.

After an unprecedented year and a half, we have decided we need to look at the Laureate’s role, and take some time out to consult with young people to co-create a new Young People’s Laureate for London programme to launch next year. 

Rishi Dastidar, Chair of Spread the Word Trustees, says:  

“Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London has been a fantastic addition to poetry in London, UK and internationally, and a fantastic launch pad for some wonderful writers. offer for young Londoners. I am certain that the work of all our Laureates will have a life-long positive impact on the young people they worked with and has helped to nurtured the next generation of diverse poets and poetry lovers in our great city.”  

Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word, says: 

“Spread the Word would like to thank all the Laureates for London who have all brought their own unique styles and energies to the role. We’re looking forward to taking some time to reflect on and reshape the programme in partnership with young Londoners to offer a new co-created Laureate for London in 2022 that is reflective of the most pressing needs and hopes of young Londoners. If you would like to be involved in the consultation for the next Laureate programme, we’d love to hear from you.” 

As we move into a period of change with the Laureate programme, we’d like to thank each of the wonderful Laureates, and to everyone else who has been part of the journey so far, including:  

  • Young People’s Laureates for London: Caleb Femi (2016), Momtaza Mehri (2018), Theresa Lola (2019) and Cecilia Knapp (2020);

  • Young Poet Laureates for London: Warsan Shire (2013), Aisling Fahey (2014), Selina Nwulu (2015); 

  • All the young people who took part in workshops, performances, residencies and online campaigns;  

  • All the poets who took time to apply for the position; 

  • All judges who have helped us select our Laureates, in particular Joelle Taylor, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Nick Makoha; 

  • All our current and former project partners, in particular Free Word, Asia House, St. Paul’s Cathedral, BUREAU, The Greater London Authority and London Libraries, and 

  • Current project supporters Granta Trust, as well as former supporters including The Space, Garfield Weston Foundation, Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, the Rayne Foundation and the London Legacy Development Corporation.  

Get involved 

If you work with young people, or if you are a young person and you’re interested in shaping the future of the Young People’s Laureate for London programme, please contact:  

[email protected]  

The consultation period will begin in late October 2021.  


Published 5 October 2021