Forward Arts Foundation Annual review 2019
Trustees 2018 - 19 Martin Thomas, Chair William Sieghart, Founder Giles Spackman Jamie Andrews (appointed 25 October 2019) Kim Evans (appointed 17 June 2019) Bidisha Mamata (appointed 22 May 2019) Jacob Sam La Rose (resigned 7 May 2019) Nigel Bennett (resigned 17 May 2019) Joanna Mackle (resigned 17 May 2019) Cynthia Miller (resigned 18 November 2019) Robyn Marsack (resigned 5 December 2019) Executive Director Susannah Herbert Charity registered number 1037939 Charity office address c/o Royal Society of Literature Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 1LA www.forwardartsfoundation.org @forwardprizes @PoetryDayUk / @nationalpoetryday
Forward Arts Foundation promotes public knowledge and enjoyment of poetry. We change lives by giving people the confidence to create and communicate, we support poets, and we strengthen local communities. Our flagship programmes, National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry, enable all to enjoy, discover and share poetry as performers, writers, listeners and readers. Our poetry resources inspire hundreds of thousands each year to creative participation: we face increasing demand for our materials, particularly in areas of multiple deprivation. The needs we address are: • Educational: helping schools to foster creativity, confidence and communication skills. • Social: working with libraries, the BBC and other partners to reduce isolation and exclusion. • Artistic: supporting poets, both directly and by building audiences for their work.
What’s wonderful about Forward is that they put poetry in the spotlight. They bring people together. Alia Hassan, radio producer
Highlights of the year INSPIRING CREATIVE PARTICIPATION:
Young writers An estimated 690,000 students used our resources to create, read and perform poetry. They included a group of 10 pupil premium students in East Oxford who put on a show and published pamphlets in July as part of Poetry as a Second Language, our collaboration with poet/teacher Kate Clanchy and Oxford Spires Academy. Shukria Rezaei, an ex-OSA student and the holder of the first Forward Prizes Studentship, was invited to address the United Nations in Geneva. She spoke of her Hazara people, a persecuted minority in Afghanistan. Poetry gave me a voice: the Forward Arts Foundation gave me a chance. Shukria Rezael
Teachers 23,000 resources were downloaded from our site by teachers who used them to fuel children’s enthusiasm for writing and reading. We supported 20 Open University teachers reading groups with books and sponsored two sessions with poets. Surveys showed a 100% increase in the teachers’ knowledge of poetry over the year. “The children love just reading it for enjoyment, and talking about it rather than analysing it”, said one participant. NPD resources are beautiful and inspiring; they made it so simple to organise a whole school event. As a result of NPD 2019 everyone was talking about poetry that day: pupils, teachers and parents. Teacher, Halifax, Yorkshire Communities More than 300 events were registered on the National Poetry Day map, and 200 care homes and schools signed up to Poetry Together tea parties. The Duchess of Cornwall read her favourite poem, Hilaire Belloc’s ‘Matilda’, to support this initiative encouraging children to learn poems by heart and share them over tea and cakes with care home residents. Poetry Together is the brainchild of Gyles Brandreth and Dukes Education.
I work in a nursing home. In the week of National Poetry Day, I supported residents to come along with their favourite poem to read and share with each other. I designed a display using your banners so that all week residents could pick up poetry books, read quotes etc. Several residents, including one who is 103, read poems. A brilliant afternoon! Emma Rose, Melton
MAKING GREAT POETRY ACCESSIBLE:
Via performance Our annual Forward Prizes for Poetry celebrate the best new poetry of the year with public performances at the Southbank Centre. This year, we also commissioned student animators from the University of Hertfordshire to make films of poems by earlier Forward Prize winners, such as Claudia Rankine, Michael Longley, Ian Duhig and Carol Ann Duffy. Short films we made with poets Tony Walsh, Michael Rosen and Nikita Gill earned 60,000 views.
Every literature teacher should play this to their students! Ken Chawkin, teacher, on Tony Walsh’s film ‘Take This Pen’
Via books We publish the Forward Book of Poetry each year with our sponsors Bookmark, and 10,000 students annually buy and study our compilation Poems of the Decade: an Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry for A Level English Literature. This year’s Poems of the Decade conference held by the English and Media Centre in June drew 800 students and teachers to hear poets including Daljit Nagra and Patience Agbabi. We marked the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day with a new anthology and podcast series, Tell Me The Truth About Life, in which Cerys Matthews, Simon Armitage and Michael Morpurgo talked about their favourite poems. Cerys Matthews at the London Book Fair
Forward Prizes for Poetry
The Forward Prizes for Poetry 2019 ceremony. Credit: Adrian Pope
The most coveted awards for poetry.
The Daily Telegraph
The works in contention for the three categories - best collection, best first collection and best single poem - address the world head-on. To read their words is to be brought tidings of the fragile, fraught times we live in that the language of the news bulletins cannot quite convey. The Guardian The Forward Prizes were founded by William Sieghart in 1992 to celebrate new poetry and grow its audiences, along the lines of literary fiction’s Booker Prize and contemporary art’s Turner Prize. Each year, shortlisted and highly commended poems are compiled into the annual Forward Book of Poetry, ensuring a wide range of new writing reaches the public, plus librarians, teachers and reading groups. On 20th October 2019 at the Southbank Centre in London, Fiona Benson won the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection for Vertigo and Ghost. Stephen Sexton was awarded the Best First Collection Award for If All the World and Love Were Young and Parwana Fayyaz’s ‘Forty Names’ took the prize for Best Single Poem.
GROWING REACH: The Forward Prizes have shifted that feeling that poetry is ‘not for us’: they’ve enabled the nation to interact with poetry. Malika Booker, poet Forward Prizes Northern Preview The five poets shortlisted for Best Collection performed at the Manchester Metropolitan University on 26th September in a sold-out event chaired by judge Andrew McMillan. The event was our first collaboration with the Manchester Writing School. Ledbury Young Critics Three emerging critics from BAME backgrounds were nominated by the Ledbury Poetry Festival to discuss the Best First Collection shortlist, with award-winning poet Sarah Howe on 20th October at the Southbank Centre. Creative Critics Competition We encourage sixth formers to read work shortlisted for the Forward Prizes and respond with a poem of their own. This year’s competition, run by the English and Media Centre, drew a record number of entries and was judged by Daljit Nagra, with prizes for Lucy Thynne, Katie Kirkpatrick and Anna Holland.
Creative Critics Winner, Lucy Thynne alongside runners-up Katie Kirkpatrick and Anna Holland. Credit: Adrian Pope
Campaign design created by Chie Hosaka, illustrator and Ness Wood, graphic designer
National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages all to enjoy, discover and share poetry. As the artform’s most visible moment, it showcases the many ways poetry adds value to society. The Day is fun, it starts conversations, it encourages love of language - and best of all, it’s open to absolutely everyone to join in, quietly or noisily, in rewarding and enjoyable ways. We make it easy for people to take part by choosing an annual theme. In 2019, the theme was Truth, and in 2020 the theme will be Vision. Each year we commission beautiful designs around the theme and make them available to participants as downloads, badges, posters, bookmarks and displays. The 2019 designs, by illustrator Chie Hosaka and graphic designer Ness Wood, were free to print off and very popular. We also send out hard copies of posters, via libraries and schools, but the demand always exceeds supply. 23,000 resources were downloaded from our site in 2019. Assuming each is used in a classroom of 30, they reached 690,000 students. Our 13,000 mailing list subscribers turn to us for poems, and for recommendations for good poetry reads - and listens. We source poetry on the NPD theme, by commissioning new work from the National Poetry Day Ambassadors - 24 poets with experience of working with schools - and by clearing permission for great poems by less-known authors from a wide range of backgrounds. Schools find this “poem-hoard” particularly useful: we spotlight as many poems by women as by men, and we delight in unusual and interesting regional phrases and dialects. National Poetry Day is supported by great literature and literacy partners. We grow support for poetry from third parties, including the BBC, Waterstones, the Booksellers Association and Gardners Books.
Poetry book sales
Value sales per year (£ millions)
14 12 10
8 6 4 2 0
We are noticing upwards sales trends [for poetry] and enjoy seeing the innovative ways in which it is delivered. Our partnership with National Poetry Day is geared towards generating awareness and growing the reach of this important genre. Nigel Wyman Head of Business Development, Gardners Books
• 18% increase in poetry sales in NPD week 2019 over 2018. • Poetry sales up by 40% over the last five years. • 41% of buyers were aged 13 to 22.
A passion for politics, particularly among teenagers and young millennials, is fuelling a dramatic growth in the popularity of poetry, with sales of poetry books hitting an all-time high in 2018. Donna Ferguson, The Guardian, 21 Jan 2019
How the UK celebrated WITH POETRY GET-TOGETHERS
EVENTS LISTED ON NPD MAP
PEOPLE ATTENDED NPD EVENTS AROUND THE UK CARE HOMES & SCHOOLS SIGNED UP TO POETRY TOGETHER CELEBRATIONS
BY WRITING & SHARING POEMS
SCHOOLS RECEIVED FREE POSTER PACKS
LIBRARIES RECEIVED FREE POSTER PACKS
RESOURCE DOWNLOADS FROM NPD WEBSITE
POETRY POSTCARDS IN LANGUAGES OF THE UK DISTRIBUTED NATIONWIDE
NPDâ€™s 25th anniversary BY ENJOYING PERFORMANCES HRH PRINCE OF WALES SHARED A FAVOURITE POEM ON BBC RADIO 2
YOUTUBE VIEWS FOR #SPEAKYOURTRUTHPOEM
LISTENS TO 13 NEW #HOMETRUTHS POEMS ON BBC LOCAL RADIO
#NATIONALPOETRYDAY TOP GLOBAL TREND TOPIC ON TWITTER ON THE DAY
FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER
SUBSCRIBERS TO NPD NEWSLETTER
NUMBER OF VISITS TO WEBSITE MAR/OCT 600k 400k 200k
UNIQUE VIEWS TO WEBSITE ON NATIONAL POETRY DAY
Strengthening the poetry sector A MONTH BY MONTH BREAKDOWN OF NATIONAL POETRY DAY ACTIVITY JANUARY
Poetry in Parliament & the Poetry Boom In January 2019, Forward Arts Foundation invited the sector to the launch of the inaugural All Party Parliamentary Group for Poetry at Westminster. The event, organised with Newcastle University and the Poetry Society, featured the Premier League’s chief executive Bill Bush, alongside Sir John Hayes and the MP for Hull, Emma Hardy. Nielsen BookScan figures confirmed National Poetry Day’s effectiveness in raising sales and public awareness of poetry. Articles about the ‘poetry boom’ ran on the BBC, in The Observer and in The Daily Telegraph.
Kirsty Melville and Bidisha in conversation at Poets’ Corner, London Book Fair
The London Book Fair For the second year, poetry was celebrated with a Poetry Summit for publishers and poetry organisations, arranged by Forward Arts Foundation with Inpress, and a series of events for London Book Fair visitors. Keynote speakers included the chairman of the Academy of American Poets and YouTube UK’s strategic partner manager discussing the impact of social media and young people’s engagement with poetry. Raymond Antrobus was Poet of the Fair, and broadcaster Cerys Matthews was announced as editor of National Poetry Day’s anthology, Tell Me The Truth About Life: 100 Poems that Matter, published by Michael O’Mara.
#BBCLocalPoets With BBC Local Radio, National Poetry Day launched its award-winning series of #BBCLocalPoets commissions in June, themed #HomeTruths. 13 local poets were invited to create 13 cliché-busting poems about their area for broadcast on both radio and television, taking their inspiration from suggestions made by some of the 7 million listeners to BBC Local Radio.
#MyNPDPoem At the National Theatre, we issued a challenge to teachers, students and school staff to join in with National Poetry Day in their own way, at their own pace, and according to the needs of their school community. #MyNPDPoem, launched with CLPE at the CLiPPA ceremony on July 3rd, encouraged teachers to get pupils aged 6 - 13 writing, reading, listening to and performing poetry in good time for October and gave them the support to create poems, performances, displays and whole-school poetry anthologies.
New initiatives #SpeakYourTruthPoem, a competition for poets aged 18+ to upload new poems onto YouTube, proved widely popular. The judging panel was composed of poets Nikita Gill and Tony Walsh, footballer and poet Marvin Sordell, YouTube poet and author Savannah Brown and illustrator Chris Riddell. The winner was Rami Yasir. A new partnership with The Reader Organisation resulted in the creation of Dazzle Gradually, an anthology for the workplace. Forward Arts Foundation worked with Scottish Poetry Library and Literature Wales to create and distribute six Truth postcards in five different languages (Welsh, Scots, Gaelic, Manx and Cornish) into schools and library authorities across the UK.
NPD trade campaign For the 25th anniversary, our nationwide book trade promotion highlighting 36 inspiring poetry books expanded to cover YA poetry as well as children’s poetry, new poetry collections, poetry for book groups. The campaign was supported by 24 publishers, from Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury and Macmillan to Penned in the Margins and Burning Eye. Waterstones, Browns Books for Students and Booksellers Association also supported.
CLiPPA ceremony. Credit: Ellie Kurttz
The Booksellers Association noted it had contributed to the increase in poetry sales between October and Christmas 2018. They also co-ordinated the Poetry Booksellers Love campaign, identifying the 25 top poetry books of the last 25 years, voted for by booksellers. The Bookseller reported that the list “honours beautiful design alongside erudition, humour alongside calls to revolution”.
How we are funded INCOME
Donations and sponsorship are vital to us and account for more than half our 2018 - 2019 income. Another quarter was earned: our annual poetry marketing campaign was supported by the book trade, and our anthologies, widely bought by schools, ensured young people continued to be inspired by new poets.
Arts Council England funded us as a part of its National Portfolio and also awarded us a Catalyst grant to build up our fundraising capacity.
TRUSTS & FOUNDATIONS
EARNED INCOME: EVENTS, BOOK SALES, PROMOTIONS
The bulk of our spending was split evenly between two flagship initiatives: National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry – each with its own manager. Special projects for 2018 - 2019 included the Poetry as a Second Language initiative for students in East Oxford.
NATIONAL POETRY DAY
Thank you SPONSORS
Bookmark Browns Books for Students Gardners Books Ltd
CHARITABLE SUPPORTERS Ernst & Young Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Give a Book John Ellerman Foundation Felix Dennis Literary Estate
STATUTORY SUPPORTER Arts Council England
Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society The Space
MEDIA PARTNERS BBC Local Radio BBC Teach LoveReading Teach Primary Teach Secondary
Booksellers Association Centre for Literacy in Primary Education English and Media Centre First Story Inpress Books Libraries Connected Literature Wales Manchester Writing School Michael O’Mara Books National Book Tokens National Literacy Trust Nielsen BookScan Open University Pearson Poetry Together The Reading Agency The Reader Organisation Scottish Poetry Library Southbank Centre The United Kingdom Literacy Association University of Hertfordshire Waterstones Welsh Books Council