Funding boost for poetry in Peterborough

Charley Genever
Charley Genever

Former Peterborough Poet Laureate Charley Genever has been awarded £14,000 of National Lottery funding by Arts Council England to support her project Freak Speak in creating Peterborough’s first young poetry and spoken word collective.

The project will include a series of masterclasses for a group of 14-25 year olds ran by the country’s top poetry and spoken word talent.

Poet Laureate for Peterborough,  Clare Currie receives her award

Poet Laureate for Peterborough, Clare Currie receives her award

The poets involved will be given the chance to showcase their work professionally at four events in the city over the next 18 months.

This is the second grant Charley has been awarded by the organisation and will continue her successful work with poets in the area.

Her spoken word night Freak Speak attracted national headliners to the city both as performers at the event and audience members included Benjamin Zephaniah, Joelle Taylor, and Rob Auton. The night was also featured on a prestigious list of ‘Best Spoken Word Nights in the UK’ compiled by Picador books.

Charley said: “I’ve seen a real change in the dynamics of the poetry scene in the city over the last couple of years. We’re seeing younger, more diverse poets take to the mic, and new open mics and writing groups popping up all the time.

I want to harness this exciting time and push the community even further, really embed Peterborough on the national spoken word map, and create an army of young, loud, Peterborough poets.”

Aside from running Freak Speak and other events across the city, Charley also released her first poetry collection, ‘Unsexed’, which is available on her website.

Aspiring poets will be invited to apply to be part of the collective in January 2018. Details will be available at

Meanwhile, the new Poet Laureate for Peterborough is Clare Currie.

Clare was chosen by a panel of judges, led by her predecessor Charley Genever, artist Tony Nero and the poet Viv Foster.

As well as writing commissioned poems about the local area, the Poet Laureate acts as advocate for the growing and exciting Spoken Arts in the City, and as an ambassador for all of Peterborough. This role has been in the city since 1998 and Clare is the 17th Laureate

Clare, pictured (below)with the other finalists, said: “Peterborough’s spoken word scene is vibrant and exciting. I feel privileged to be awarded the role of Laureate for the city. I’m looking forward to supporting existing events, introducing new initiatives and taking poetry to new places and audiences.

To contact Clare email:

Photo: Tony Nero