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New Books Created by Children Celebrated as Shakespeare Week Announces 2023 Competition Winners


Young book makers are being celebrated this summer as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) the organisers of Shakespeare Week announce their competition winners for 2023 and look forward to plans for the 10th anniversary event in 2024.

Run by independent charity, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), Shakespeare Week has grown into an influential, annual event in schools and families across the UK, bringing the iconic playwright to life and creating a positive first experience with Shakespeare for all children across the UK.

Themed around Creativity, Shakespeare Week 2023 focused on Shakespeare’s innovative use of language and involved a children’s book making competition titled ‘Write till your ink be dry’ to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the publication of The First Folio, (the book that brought all of Shakespeare’s works into a single volume for the first time).

"Shakespeare Week 2023 has been a great success, we engaged with over 11,500 schools across the country, with over 200 schools participating in Shakespeare Week for the first time’’.

Said Sally Gray, Shakespeare Week Project Manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the organiser of Shakespeare Week.

The competition, which was supported by Waterstones Children's Laureate Joseph Coelho, received over 1,000 entries from school children aged between 4 and 11 years. After careful consideration, 16 winners were chosen, and their work is now exhibited in a free online exhibition accessible to all.

One of the school winners of the competition is Claverdon Primary School near Warwick.

"We are incredibly delighted to have been awarded joint first place in this year’s Shakespeare Week Competition. We are beyond proud of the work each and every child in our school completed.

We are incredibly lucky to live and teach so close to Stratford-Upon-Avon and have the opportunity to embed Shakespeare's plays into our curriculum. Each year group focused on a different play and were given the opportunity to decide how to present their writing, artwork etc. in their own version of The First Folio! We were blown away by the children's creativity and are very grateful to have this acknowledged by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust."

Commented Head Teacher, Dan Powell 

As part of the competition, 95 librarians received online training in creative Shakespeare-inspired bookmaking for children so that they could run sessions in their libraries and train other librarians in their authorities.

‘’From short stories to a collection of sonnets, we are happy to share the entries in our ‘Write till your ink be dry’ online exhibition. We hope they inspire more people of all ages and backgrounds around the nation to creatively engage with Shakespeare.’’

Continued Sally

Shakespeare Week 2023 also featured online broadcasts with children's celebrities including Michael Rosen, Ben Cajee, and Martin Brown from Horrible Histories, the publication and distribution of Volume II of Will's Word Warriors to 10,000 children and special learning and performance events in Nottingham, Oxford and Newcastle, including the Shakespeare Week launch at Nottingham University’s Lakeside Arts venue. The showcase events were supported by eight Shakespeare hub schools, involving a total of 300 children.

Building on the successes of 2023, the SBT is already planning Shakespeare Week 2024, marking the 10th anniversary of the national celebration. From 18 - 24 March, the 2024 Shakespeare Week promises to both celebrate the success of the past decade and set an ambitious direction for the programme into the next.

Visit Shakespeare Week to download resources and stay updated.

To view the winners' responses, as well as the runners-up and a selection of highly commended entries, visit our online exhibition.