Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho to deliver keynote address at Prolific North Children’s Media Conference


Performance poet, playwright and award-winning children’s author Joseph Coelho, who is the 2022 – 2024 Waterstones for Children Laureate, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Children’s Media Conference. CMC takes place in person at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield, as well as online from July 5-7 and is themed ‘What Next 2.2’.

During the keynote, delegates can expect passion alongside a campaigning zeal for children’s culture and to inspire a love of reading in young people – as well as brilliant stories about stage on Coelho’s creative journey and the creation of collective poetry on site.

At Monday’s launch of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Coelho – who is acclaimed for his work, including the Luna likes picture books, Fairy tales gone wrong series, YA verse novel The girl who became a treeas well as collections of poetry for all ages revealed that his tenure as winner of Waterstones for Children will celebrate the power of poetry, introduce new authors and illustrators to diversify bookshelves and inspire bookmakers of the future, and champion the public libraries and the role they play in communities.

Greg Childs OBE, CMC Editorial Director, said: “We are delighted to host the first public appearance of the new Waterstones for Children winner. We have had wonderful experiences with the winning children in the past – Malorie Blackman, Michael Rosen, Chris Riddell and Cressida Cowell – and they have remained good friends with CMC and all it stands for. I know Joseph will continue this tradition of brilliant analysis of his personal creative journey and passionate advocacy for his campaign goals and for children and young people in general. We always have fun with our creative Keynotes and expect it from the start, not least because, in the purest CMC mix, the winner this year will be presented by our Changemakers Ollie Ball and Jacob Pasquill, TikTok teen comics with huge following on social media.”

Coelho commented: “Poetry is powerful, it is the medium we turn to at weddings, funerals and new births because it goes beyond mere words, poetry conveys the soul. I want to use the prestigious Waterstones Children’s Laureate platform to highlight and celebrate the power of poetry. Invite the nation, young and old, to write poems, to become poets. I want to make sure every child has the opportunity to see themselves in books and as bookmakers through the plethora of new and exciting voices we have from the UK – to diversify the shelves so every child can imagine themselves as writers, illustrators and poets. And, finally, I want to hug all the libraries, these miraculous institutions where new horizons line the shelves, where minds will grow. Libraries have made me a writer and make communities thrive – I want to champion the services of these essential launching pads for learning.

CMC’s 2022 hybrid event will also feature a packed schedule of masterclasses and panels addressing pressing issues facing the children’s media industry and young audiences. Agenda highlights include: a keynote address by YouTube’s UK Managing Director, Ben McOwen Wilson, on July 5; ‘The key to…Operation Ouch!‘video interview on demand to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary; and the closing session The Last Word presented by MC Grammar.

Both online and in-person delegates will have access to an extensive library of VOD content spanning the breadth of children’s media, with topics including: learning, research insights, the ever-popular art of…pane, business insights on specific territories and presentations by CMC’s Young Speakers: the Changemakers.

In-person and online tickets for WCC 2022 are now on sale. Further details on registration rates and delegate passes are available on the MCC website.


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