PLYMOUTH LAUREATE OF WORDS
Plymouth has a rich history of literary connections and a burgeoning literature scene with a variety of writing groups and a welcoming community of live readers and performers.
Following Laura Horton’s successful term in the role, a shortlist of 4 exciting candidates sought your votes to be the next Plymouth Laureate of Words!
The public have spoken, and we are delighted to share that Rosemarie Corlett has been selected by public vote as the next Plymouth Laureate of Words.
Plymouth Laureate of Words is a creative partnership between Literature Works, Plymouth Culture and The Box. The Laureate represents their city in words, illuminating its life, culture and stories through a combination of creative writing commissions and public events.
As an author, workshop lead and teacher, Rosemarie has worked extensively within not-for-profit, educational and community projects in Plymouth, including The Children’s University, Poetry Cares, Mayflower 400 and the Association for Literature and Environment. As a bilingual poet, Rosemarie has been published by Guardian Faber, Plymouth Culture, Poetry Wales and Shearsman Books.
Speaking about her appointment, Rosemarie said:
“I’m thrilled to have been chosen as the next Plymouth Laureate of Words. I’d like to express my huge thanks to Literature Works, Plymouth Culture and The Box, as well as to all of those who voted for me. I’m so looking forward to celebrating our city, connecting with new people and places and showcasing creative writing over the next couple of years.”
Congratulations to Rosemarie, and a massive thank you to all our wonderful candidates!
In December 2020, after an open call and a public vote, Plymouth-based playwright Laura Horton was appointed as Plymouth Laureate of Words 2021-22.
As part of a creative partnership between Literature Works, Plymouth Culture and The Box, Laura engaged with a number of written and performance-based commissions presented to her by various organisations across the city.
Laura was presented her first commission by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth’s Office in December 2020. She was inspired by an image from 1940 featured in a Plymouth Herald article, which shows Plymouth in the aftermath of one of a series of aerial attacks by the Luftwaffe.
Find out more about her creative process and read her short story ‘Roll out Plymouth’ – which responds to the brief: ‘Caring and supporting one another: exploring how the community of Plymouth comes together’ – below.
Laura’s piece reflects the city’s nature of ‘coming together’ at times of adversity, demonstrated eighty years ago when the city was under siege and again in present day, when the city will commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the Blitz in Plymouth, during special events in March and April. Watch this space to find out more about when you might see Laura reading piece.
Laura writes: “When I found this image (scroll to ‘After the bombs, sing song!’) of Plymouth residents singing around a piano in aftermath of an air raid, I knew I wanted to write about it. It encapsulates for me the spirit of togetherness and the power of the arts to create moments of hope when the world feels hopeless.”
Literature Works is delighted to announce young poet, playwright and artist Mimi Jones (they/them) as the Plymouth Young City Laureate of 2023.
Young writers aged between 14 and 19 at the time of entry, who live, work or study in Plymouth were invited to send in samples of their creative writing on the topics of ‘Plymouth: A Welcoming City’ and #WritingCommunity. They all told us what they’d do with the role if they became Plymouth Young City Laureate.
The Laureateship is a partnership between Literature Works, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Culture and With Flying Colours. It gives a young writer the opportunity to represent their city in words, while also developing their creative practice through writing commissions and events.
Helen Chaloner, Chief Executive of Literature Works said: “It’s such a positive for a city to support and celebrate a Young City Laureate and Plymouth can be particularly proud of Mimi. They are such a committed, engaging young creative and I’m sure will do Plymouth proud in the role.”
During their Laureateship, Mimi will receive three paid writing commissions and will perform at several events in Plymouth across the year alongside other writers. Speaking about their appointment, Mimi said:
“I’m honoured to have the chance to keep working on my writing as the new Plymouth Young City Laureate. We have such an amazing queer and neurodiverse community that I am thrilled to work with further, and to share more writing as a queer, autistic writer.”
Mimi Jones (they/them) is a young poet, playwright and artist based in Plymouth. They primarily write about love from a queer and autistic point of view, but also enjoy ‘slice of life’ plays and fiction. Alongside reading their work at open mics and working on their first anthology, they also host their own events with QueerOutLoud – helping find and share queer creatives around the city.
Photo credit: Sarah Packer