Free Poetry Performances and Workshops at Between the Lines Festival in Sheffield on 24th February

I am pleased to be one of the writers at the very first Between the Lines Festival in Sheffield on Saturday 24th February. It is Sheffield’s Literature and Arts Festival for Children.

I will be performing and running workshops for children with adults during the day at The HUBS, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2QQ. My sessions are at 11am and at 1pm.

I will also be launching my new book, “What Are You Like?”, with signed copies available to buy.

For details of all the activities see:

Free tickets can be booked using the links below.

Book 11am session here:

Book 1pm session here:

Concentrated half day poetry workshop with one year 3 class

Bernard Young half day visit to Chorlton CofE Primary school

Mostly, when I visit a school, I spend a whole day and work with all year groups, spending a little time with each, having kicked things off with a performance to the whole school. However, on Friday, linked to National Poetry Day, I had the pleasure of spending half a day with just one class at Chorlton CofE Primary School in Manchester – Miss Lowe’s year 3 class. This meant a more concentrated experience for the students in that class.

I performed to the class reading some poems from my books, some with guitar, and then answered their questions about being a poet. After that we wrote a poem about their school all together, with guitar accompaniment. Then I gave them some suggestions so they could write their own individual poems, which every child did. At the end of the session each child performed their poem to the rest of the class. All of this before lunch time! A very successful literacy lesson.

Thank you Year 3 and Miss Lowe for your enthusiasm and creativity. I hope this experience has nurtured a confidence with poetry which will stay for every day.


International Literacy Day – Tuesday 8th September 2015


Long, long ago, after a bath but before bedtime (in the days when there were no PCs, laptops, mobile phones, iPads) my Mum (sometimes my Dad) would read to me. First it was books with more pictures than words. There were some stories about a talking helicopter and a talking aeroplane. I seem to remember it wasn’t too long before I was reading myself – tales of King Arthur and Sir Lancelot, Robin Hood, Biggles, Long John Silver (Treasure Island was a favourite book), schoolboy Jennings and mischievous William Brown, then James Bond, Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf and, if he’d been around in those days, I’d have been a big Harry Potter fan.

Then it was Shakespeare, Milton, Thomas Hardy, William Golding, Ernest Hemingway, Roger McGough, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and A Level revision notes and exam papers. And so it went on till I was reading job advertisements and filling in job applications and applying for a driving licence and a passport. Thank goodness I was able to read… and write.

And talking of writing… all that reading (thanks Mum and Dad) led to me writing… stories, poems, songs and, to cut a long story short, I’m still reading and writing. What a pleasure it has been, and still is, to be able to do that. And, if I hadn’t become a reader (I just know it) I’d never have become a poet. Just shows where a little reading, after a bath but before bedtime, can lead to.

More information about International Literacy Day can be found at