A Pembrokeshire-based author has been recognised for her outstanding poetry for children at a national awards ceremony.

Nicola Davies, who lives near St Davids, attended the CLiPPA Awards at the Lyttleton Theatre on July 10, one of the theatres on London’s West Bank that make up the National Theatre, where she received the ‘Highly Commended’ award from CLiPPA judge, Chris Riddell OBE.

Publishers Graffeg said: “We were absolutely delighted to watch Nicola Davies receive the ‘Highly Commended’ award at the 2023 CLiPPA Awards for her moving poetry collection, Choose Love, illustrated by Petr Horáček. It was a fantastic afternoon of celebrating poetry and creativity, and we are so pleased to have been able to attend.” 

Run by CLPE (the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), the CLiPPA is the only award solely presented for published poetry for children in the UK. Established in 2003, the annual Poetry Award encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. 

The event was attended by schools from all over the UK who took part in the CLiPPA 2023 Shadowing Scheme, as well as individuals who took to the stage to perform some of the shortlisted poets’ work. It was a phenomenal turnout.

Choose Love provides insight into the real-life experiences of refugees forced to leave their homes to face an unknown future.

On stage at the ceremony, Indigo Williams said of the book: “As a group of judges, we found it necessarily angry, compassionate, campaigning and written from the heart. We also found it humane and uplifting, which is exactly what poetry is for.”

Following this introduction, Nicola read her short, but moving poem ‘Not Lost’ to a rapt, then wildly enthusiastic audience.

Nicola said that she was “completely overwhelmed” at receiving the commendation. In her speech, Nicola told the crowd: 

“I’m utterly delighted with the way that these poems, drawn from such terrible experiences and such suffering are reaching out into the world…

“My greatest hope when I write poems is to connect with my audience, to change hearts and to change minds, to empower young people to find their voices. I try to change the world, one poem, one line and one emotion at a time.”

Choose Love does exactly that. Taken from stories of the longing and hardship of refugees, Choose Love ignites empathy and encourages children to keep an open mind and an open heart.

Published by Graffeg, Choose Love retails at £16.99 and supports the national charity of the same name, who will receive a donation from each copy sold.