A project encouraging children to write a poem in the community language they speak at home has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
Mother Tongue Other Tongue, an annual poetry contest for pupils run by the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, also invites students learning a new language at school to write a poem in it.
The project – run in association with languages consortium, Routes Into Languages – is the brainchild of former Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, professor of contemporary poetry and creative director of the writing school.
More than 30,000 students have taken part in the initiative since it launched in 2012.
It has become a key part of the writing school’s contribution to creative education, diversity and community engagement in contemporary multicultural Britain.
Manchester Met vice-chancellor, Professor Malcolm Press
This year’s entries in the Mother Tongue category included work submitted in Malaysian, Urdu, Arabic, Somali, Hindi, Jamaican Patois, Tagalog, Urdu, Italian, Tiu Adialeck, Irish Gaelic, Bengali, Polish, Catalan, Japanese and Persian.
The Other Tongue category, meanwhile, received poems composed in Spanish, Urdu, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
“Mother Tongue Other Tongue has helped to foster pride for community languages and cultures, and encouraged educational aspirations for underrepresented groups, particularly among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities,” said the university’s vice-chancellor Professor Malcolm Press.
“It has become a key part of the writing school’s contribution to creative education, diversity and community engagement in contemporary multicultural Britain.”
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is the highest national award in further and higher education in the UK, recognising work judged to offer genuine benefit to the wider world.
The university will be formally presented with the prize at a Buckingham Palace ceremony in February.