Young laureate ‘brings the conversation’ to Croydon’s backyard

Caleb Femi, the Young People’s Laureate for London, will end his outer London tour by visiting Croydon Central Library this Wednesday, July 5.

Femi is on a mission to inspire young people to express their voices thorough poetry.

Part of a two-year tour of outer London boroughs in partnership with local libraries, led by London’s leading writers’ agency Spread the Word, Femi will facilitate a creative conversation about the young people’s lives, their relationship with the arts and how they can use poetry to reflect their experiences.

The participants will have the opportunity to help Femi write a specially commissioned poem, to be filmed, about their experiences as young people in Croydon.

Caleb Femi: making poetry in Croydon

Femi said: “The recent general election, and the number of young people who voted, shows that they have always wanted to part of the social, political and economic conversations of the country. We see them expressing themselves through poetry on Twitter and other social media platforms, or they are putting poems on YouTube.

“It was important to extend the tour to the outer London boroughs, such as Croydon, as often the conversation or implementation of outreach and artistic projects leaves out marginalised young people who are expected to travel into central London to experience the arts and literature. We are bringing the conversation to their backyard.”

Spread the Word’s focus on libraries as creative hubs is essential to the project’s success to show that despite the growth in technology and social media, libraries are not obsolete for young people.

“Libraries offer a quiet refuge to writers and can provide an escape and a place to congregate with other young people to share creative ideas,” Femi said.

“Young people want their voices heard and they see poetry as accessible and their preferred way of making us hear them. My role is to act as a facilitator, to listen to them, their experience and ideas. I want them to be able to use poetry to engage with what they want to focus on.”

During the session, young people will have the opportunity to have a say in how the programme is run and to write poetry, with the chance to perform alongside Femi at a showcase event later this year.

Any young people interested in taking part, please email Anita Cottle at

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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