The Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition returns for its second year to inspire children aged between five and eleven to get creative and pen their own poem on the theme of diversity.


The campaign, which is open to all primary schools in England and Wales, is supported by stars from the worlds of football, entertainment and literature. Last year’s inaugural Writing Stars competition encouraged more than 25,000 primary school pupils to write a poem.


The judging panel includes former Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer and songwriter Olly Murs, Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, poet Joseph Coelho. Casia Wiliam, current Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children’s Poet Laureate) will guest judge all Welsh-language entries. All judging will be overseen by National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas.


To inspire children taking part in the competition Joseph Coelho has created a bespoke poem titled ‘Beautifully different, wonderfully the same’.


Entries will be considered against a range of criteria including creativity, tone and originality. The winning poems will be published in a limited-edition book. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits, as well as winning poems being read aloud by some of the competition judges. The first 1,000 primary schools to enter will receive a poetry book bag containing 12 different titles.

Former Premier League footballer and BT Sport presenter, Rio Ferdinand, said: “Diversity is a really important topic for young people to explore and write about, so I’m very excited to be a part of this year’s Premier League Writing Stars judging panel.


“As a former Premier League footballer, I’ve shared a dressing room and a pitch with people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. Football has an amazing ability to unite us, as players, as fans and as people. As a parent with an interest in poetry, I think Writing Stars can inspire children to openly discuss and celebrate their differences and similarities both at home and in the classroom.”


Singer and songwriter, Olly Murs, said: “I love writing songs, so I hope that Premier League Writing Stars will encourage children across England and Wales to get writing. I am a massive football fan, so this poetry competition brings together two of my biggest passions and I can’t wait to read the poems. Good luck!”


Overall winners and 9 regional winners will be selected from across both Key Stages 1 (ages five to seven) and Key Stage 2 (ages seven to 11). In Wales, two winners will be chosen from each Key Stage – an English language and a Welsh language winner - with support from Casia Wiliam, current Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children’s Poet Laureate). Poems can be entered in all forms, including lyrics or a rap, and teachers and parents can register or nominate their child’s school to take part here


All poems are submitted via schools either online or by post. Teachers have until Friday 21 December to submit their pupils’ work. Winners will be announced in March 2019.