A collection of poems written by confined children wins the People’s Book Prize

An East Lancashire author who works tirelessly to promote children’s literature has been awarded the People’s Book Prize for best published book.

Award-winning author and Blackburn Patron with Darwen Libraries for Children and Young People, Christina Gabbitas received the People’s Book Award for publishing a collection of poems written by children, titled Lockdown Life.

Ms Gabbitas, who spent the first 22 years of her life growing up in Blackburn, came up with the lockdown project to encourage children, young people and teachers to write a poem in any style about how they felt .

She said: ‘The lockdown was a challenge for everyone, I wanted to give kids, teens and teachers the chance to write about how they felt, to share some of their thoughts to post in a collection of poetry for everyone to read.

“I wanted children and young people to know that they weren’t alone with their thoughts.

“I had twenty-five judges from all walks of life, including actress Jenny Agutter OBE and The Undertones musician Michael Bradley who also helped raise awareness.”

Jenny Agutter with the book

Jenny Agutter, who plays the character of Sister Julienne in Call the Midwife, said: “These are a lovely and touching collection of poems from lockdown, giving insight into the fears, the frustration and the fun to be had.

“It was wonderful to hear that this collection won the People’s Book Prize for Best Published Book.”

Michael Bradley of punk band The Undertones said, “It was a brilliant project to be involved in, congratulations to all the poets and to Christina for organizing it.”

Blackburn’s Director with Darwen Libraries, Adele Karwatt, said: “This is another incredible achievement from our Patron Christina which is why we have chosen her to represent our libraries, her passion for encouraging children and young people is a constant concern for her.

“We look forward to working with Christina on our upcoming Blackburn Children’s Literature Festival with Darwen during Library Week in October.”

Christina, who has also been commissioned to write a story by Blackburn BID to bring the magic back to Blackburn with her story Believe in the Magic of Blackburn, is working on converting the story into a play to be performed at the King Georges Hall in 2023.

In order to make the project viable, Christina is seeking support with project funding.

If you would like to help, please contact Christina via info@christinagabbitas.com

More information about the project can be found here on Lockdown Life and Believe in Magic.

peoplesbookprize.com/summer-2021/lockdown-life/

childrensliteraturefestivals.com/my-lockdown-poem/

peoplesbookprize.com/summer-2021/believe-in-the-magic-of-blackburn/

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