Top literary and football names team up to search for young ‘Premier League Writing Stars’


  • Former professional footballer Frank Lampard OBE, Premier League player and lyricist Yannick Bolasie, Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and the young people’s laureate for London Caleb Femi have teamed up with the Premier League to help launch Premier League Writing Stars, a poetry competition for primary school children
  • Campaign aims to inspire children to write poems based on the theme of resilience
  • Premier League Writing Stars is part of Premier League Primary Stars, a primary school programme, which offers free curriculum-linked teaching resources
  • More than 10,000 primary schools have signed up to Premier League Primary Stars since its launch in March


The Premier League has today launched a poetry competition for children aged five to 11. Premier League Writing Stars is backed by names from the worlds of football and literature. The campaign is open to all primary schools in England and Wales and aims to get young people writing poetry in different creative forms.


Inspired by the William Hickson poem ‘Try, Try Again’, which is recited by footballers in the recent Premier League Primary Star advertising campaign, the competition asks school children to write around the theme of resilience; what does it mean to you to try and try again? Entries can be any form of poetic writing including a rap or lyrics. Teachers and parents can register or nominate their child’s school to take part at


The all-star judging panel includes former professional footballer and children’s author Frank Lampard; ‘Charlie and Lola’ author-illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child; Premier League star and lyricist Yannick Bolasie and Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi. All judging will be overseen by Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust Director.


Entries will be considered against a range of criteria including creativity, tone and originality. The winning poems will be published in a limited-edition book. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits, as well as winning poems being read aloud by football stars. The first 1,000 schools that enter the competition will receive a bespoke ‘Book Bag’.


The campaign is supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which has already engaged more than 10,000 primary schools and 13,000 teachers in England and Wales.


Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League Primary Stars has already proved to be a success thanks to the great work our clubs are carrying out in their communities and the breadth of resources the programme makes available to primary school teachers. We have already achieved our initial target of engaging 10,000 schools and the programme keeps evolving. Premier League Writing Stars is backed by established authors and poets as well as footballers and our aim is to enthuse children, teachers and parents alike.”


Everton FC player Yannick Bolasie is also known for hosting MC battles. He said: “As a parent I know how important it is to keep young children motivated and engaged with learning. This Premier League Writing Stars campaign not only underlines the importance of resilience in life but also shows that poetry can be fun and can take many forms including song lyrics and raps. I hope that by seeing the different names involved in the campaign it will inspire children to create their own poetry, in whatever form they like. I am looking forward to seeing and judging the different entries.”


Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child hopes this campaign encourages creativity. She said: “It is always inspiring to see just how many children, when given the chance, feel a desire to write.

It’s especially wonderful that children want to express themselves by creating poems, since poetry can be such a powerful way to connect with the world and to better understand oneself. It is a privilege for me to be part of the Premier League’s Writing Stars Poetry Competition, and to have the opportunity to read these children’s words and discover what is important to them.”


Frank Lampard, who has authored 19 books in his ‘Frankie’s Magic Football’ series, added: “Resilience is something every footballer certainly knows about. Encouraging children to think about what it means to persevere and keep trying is a hugely valuable life lesson and I love that this message forms a core part of the Premier League Primary Stars programme and Writing Stars poetry competition. I am sure I will be reading lots of creative and inspiring entries.”


Caleb Femi, Spread the Word’s Young People Laureate for London said: “Poetry allows us to communicate from an honest and safe space and I believe it is essential to encourage this in young people. As a former teacher, I know first-hand the challenges of engaging young people so it is great to see Premier League Primary Stars using the appeal of football to inspire children to learn. Poetry should and can be normalised as a form of communication, it doesn’t need to be reserved for the classroom. Writing Stars is not asking you to be the best speller, the best grammatical writer. It’s just asking you to write about a time when you felt inspired or when you showed a huge amount of resilience to overcome a certain situation, and you can do that through poetry.”


Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, added: “Poetry has the power to unlock children’s imaginations, unleash their aspirations and boost their attainment. It also enables children to express themselves in a multitude of ways, from raps and lyrics to free verse and traditional poems. Combining football and poetry is a wonderful way to explore the theme of resilience. I can’t wait to read the children’s poems and take inspiration from their messages of never giving up.”


The competition launch coincides with National Poetry Day and entrants will have until 22 December to submit their original poems.


All entries are submitted via schools and teachers and parents should visit to register or nominate their schools to take part.



News post will be removed on Tuesday May 29th, 2018