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  • Exclusive poetry workshop took place at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School

    The overall winner of ‘Bradford’s Young War Poet’, 13-year-old Aamna Rafaqat, won an exclusive workshop for her class in Year 9 with the renowned poet and author Anthony Anaxagorou as part of her star prize.

    Taking place on Monday 15 January, attendees were treated to a poetry masterclass, with the aim of inspiring and educating as to its true importance and impact.

    Anthony, who also devises programmes to help engage students across the UK, said: “I was impressed with Aamna’s poem, ‘The Fate of Soldiers’, it was emotive and incredibly well organised, capturing the trepidation of soldiers beautifully. Bradford clearly has some incredible writing talent coming through from the next generation and it is exciting to not only see this happen but also be involved in highlighting and exploring it.”

    Overall winner, Aamna Rafaqat said: “I was so happy to win Kirkgate Shopping’s Young War Poet competition in November of last year and having the opportunity to perform my entry in front of my family at the centre. I really enjoyed writing my entry, ‘The Fate of Soldiers’, and couldn’t wait to meet with Anthony again for the workshop and learn more about the spoken-word as a whole. My classmates were also very excited!”

    The annual initiative run by Kirkgate Shopping, which last year partnered with Reading Matters (now operating under the name of Beanstalk) and Anthony Anaxagorou, aims to support the region’s literacy development by giving children the opportunity to celebrate their ancestors by writing a poem for Remembrance Day.

    Catherine Riley, the centre manager at Kirkgate Shopping, said: “We were so impressed by the writing talent from the region’s youngsters this year and selecting only three winners was a challenge. We were moved by the way entrants were able to express themselves through poetry and become immersed in the country’s history.

    “Being able to offer a workshop of this nature to Bradford Girls’ Grammar School as part of the overall prize is a true joy, as it pushes the passion and love for poetry further, in an exciting environment. It will hopefully also encourage more people to become involved in next year’s competition.”

    The competition crowned 13-year-old Aamna Rafaqat from Bradford Girls’ Grammar School as the overall winner with runners-up, year six student from Wellington Primary School, Katie Hammond (10), and Finlay Cooper Butters (7) from Horton Park Academy. The three youngsters from across the district performed their poems at Kirkgate Shopping on 11 November.

    The event was also attended by The Royal British Legion and the Bradford WW1 group which hosted an exhibition telling the story of Bradford in the Great War during the day.