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The Young People’s Laureate initiative aims to inspire self-expression and increase literacy and communication skills in young people. By using a wide range of disciplines, the project has been developed to engage the next generation in new and innovative ways.

The Young People’s Laureate initiative was run by Literature Wales from 2011 to 2018. The aim of the initiative was to inspire self-expression and increase literacy and communication skills in young people between the ages of 13-25.
The initiative was launched in October 2011 with Catherine Fisher appointed as the first Laureate. The initiative was further developed by performer and poet, Martin Daws, from 2013-2016. Sophie McKeand was the third Young People’s Laureate Wales from 2016-18.

In 2019 Literature Wales replaced the Young People’s Laureate Wales with the new ambassadorial post of Children’s Laureate Wales, with popular Pembrokeshire-based children’s author Eloise Williams being announced as the first ever Children’s Laureate Wales following a public call-out for writers to express their interest in the role. Children’s Laureate Wales works alongside its Welsh-language sister-project Bardd Plant Cymru, primarily working with children between the ages of 5-14.

About Sophie McKeand

Sophie McKeand is a poet and educator from north Wales. She won the Out Spoken Innovation in Poetry Award in 2015, was longlisted for the Poetry Society‘s National Poetry Competition in 2014, and was the Poet-in-Residence at Focus Wales Festival in 2016. Sophie has performed at numerous festivals and events, and in November 2015, she embarked on a Wales-wide tour to coincide with the publication of her second poetry pamphlet, Hanes.

She is a writer and producer for various National Theatre Wales TEAM projects, and regularly facilitates workshops for Literature Wales as well as organisations such as Arts Council of Wales, Age Cymru and Oriel Wrecsam. She is also a Creative Practitioner for Arts Council Wales’ Lead Creative Schools scheme.

In her new role, Sophie will figurehead some of Literature Wales’ flagship projects for young people, including Slam Cymru, Wales’ first bilingual slam competition. She will also run workshops with families and community groups as part of Literature Wales’ Roald Dahl-inspired outreach scheme, Invent your Event.

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