Windhill21 Primary School pupil Oliver Klumpler wins national poetry competition on theme of My Lockdown Life
Bishop’s Stortford schoolboy Oliver Klumpler has won a national poetry competition – with a poem he wrote only so that his mum would let him play on his Xbox.
The 10-year-old Windhill21 Primary School pupil was one of hundreds across the country who responded to a challenge by award-winning children’s author and poet Christina Gabbitas to youngsters aged 7 to 16 and their teachers to pen a poem in any style about their life in lockdown.
Oliver spent lockdown at home in Bishop’s Stortford with mum Flora, dad Jaroslav and eight-year-old sister Emilie. He was nonplussed by his success.
“I only wrote the poem for home learning because I had to, otherwise Mum wouldn’t let me play on the Xbox,” he said.
Oliver’s verse, Lockdown Spell, impressed actress Jenny Agutter, one of the judges, who said: “Lockdown has been a challenge for us all and this is a great way to encourage young people to put pen to paper about how they’ve been feeling.”
Christina, who is an honorary member of the NSPCC council, said: “All my school visits and events were cancelled, so running this initiative helped to give me a purpose in lockdown.
“The uptake for entries was more encouraging than I had envisaged it to be and had hundreds of poems from all corners of the UK. It was wonderful to receive poems each day and to learn how children were feeling. The children haven’t held back and it’s been interesting to learn how much this has affected children and teachers alike.”
Oliver’s poem will be included in a special Lockdown Life poetry book. All proceeds will go to the Children’s Literature Festivals charity, of which Jenny is a patron.
He will be presented with his poem on canvas, a free copy of the book and £100 in book tokens, and his school will receive a half-day visit from Christina.
But he has no plans to extend his literary career.
“He’s really excited about winning the book token though – not, as you might expect, because he likes books,” said mum Flora. “Oh no. But because Waterstones sells Lego sets…”
* For more information about the competition see www.childrensliteraturefestivals.com/my-lockdown-poem .