Kate Clanchy

Here are poems about love, loss, mothers, fathers, God, rain and growing up. About all the things that poems are always about, in fact, with one crucial difference. Instead of being remembered from an adult distance, these poems were written by a diverse group of teenagers direct from their own experience. So as well as being clever, funny and moving, they are also immediate – they go straight to the heart like a text from a friend.

Most of these poems are by pupils from a single multicultural comprehensive school, Oxford Spires Academy. Many have already been social media sensations: some students’ poems, for instance, have been retweeted over 100,000 times.


ISBN: 9781800752955

Published: April 27, 2023


ISBN: 9781800752962

Published: April 27, 2023


Reviews for Friend

Praise for England: Poems from a School:

‘Not just good for school children, but great by any standard’ – Phillip Pullman

‘These young poets are writing their lives with heartbreaking immediacy’ – Imtiaz Dharker

‘I doubt I will read anything as moving for a very long time’ – Evie Wyld

‘Exceptional. All unflinching truths and zero pretentiousness’ – Nathan Filer

‘Helping us to see the world with a startling freshness, these lovely poems fill me with hope’ – Sarah Howe


Kate Clanchy

Kate Clanchy is a writer, teacher and journalist. Her poetry collection Slattern won a Forward Prize. Her short story ‘The Not-Dead and the Saved’ won both the 2009 BBC National Short Story Award and the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. Her novel Meeting the English was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. Her BBC 3 radio programme about her work with students was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes prize. In 2018 she was awarded an MBE for services to literature, and an anthology of her students’ work, England: Poems from a School, was published to great acclaim. In 2019 she published Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, a book about her experience of teaching in state schools for several decades, which won the Orwell Prize for Political Writing; and in 2020 published How to Grow Your Own Poem, which Hollie McNish described as ‘the best book I’ve read about how to practise writing poetry’.