Migrant children who turn pain into prize-winning poetry – and their teacher
One child wrote of a suicide bomber; another of the ‘sweet honey mangoes’ of home. Kate Clanchy helps them tune into their inner voice
Kate Clanchy, tall, fast-talking and slightly intimidating, lays out more than a score of slim books on the kitchen table in her Oxford home. They are collections of poetry written by children she taught, published with the help of grants that she tirelessly raised.
One, in Arabic, with an English translation, is from a 13-year-old Syrian refugee, a boy with “messy handwriting and limited vocabulary” (but “a genius” all the same), according to the preface. Another has poems written in English by an 18-year-old Afghan girl who moved to the UK just four years ago. Others are by Somali, Jordanian, Bangladeshi and Polish children.