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Man Met Mother Tongue, Other Tongue wins Queens Award for poetry project

  •  Manchester Metropolitan University awarded Queens Award for Mother Tongue, Other Tongue poetry project
  •  The project saw over 2,000 children participate this year from across the UK
  •  Entrees included poems covering a total of 16 different languages

Manchester Metropolitan University has been awarded a Queens Award for its Mother Tongue, Other Tongue poetry project.

The project, which encourages children to write and remember poems in their first language or a language they have learnt in school, attracted 2,029 participants this year. There have been more than 30,000 participants since the project began in 2012.

The Mother Tongue category saw children writing poems in languages which included Arabic, Polish, Somali, Urdu, Bengali and Japanese. The Other Tongue category included German, French, Spanish and Italian, languages which are typically taught in schools.

Robert Nelson, one of the project organisers said “Each participant can submit four pieces of work. It can be something that has already been produced such as a poem or a song, that is special to them, or something they have written themselves. The entries will then be judged by judges who can speak the language that the piece of work is written in.

"This year we had 2029 children take part. It was then filtered down to 188 pieces of work, 100 from the mother tongue category, and 88 from the other tongue category."

The project was run by the Manchester Writing School at the Uuniversity and created by former poet laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy.

The Queen’s Anniversary prize for higher and further education is awarded once every two years by the Queen and is the most prestigious national honour awarded to Universities, colleges and schools in the UK.

Speaking to NQ about the award, Robert said: “We were so unbelievably happy and shocked to have been awarded the queen’s award. We had a lot of strong competition from colleges and universities around the UK.

"To gain recognition for a project that is all about benefiting the children and their learning is phenomenal. It gives the children the chance to express themselves in the most comfortable way possible and we are thrilled to be hosting the project again next year.”

The university will collect the award in a formal ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February.

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