Year 9 poets add their voice to anti-war book

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Teenagers from a Buckinghamshire school are to have a poem showcased in an anthology, including such luminaries as Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Rosen and Brian Patten, in aid of Iraqi children.

Year 9 poets from Sir William Borlase school in Marlow, wrote "But the Bathroom has a Lock" with help from visting poet Andrew Fusek Peters. Now it is included among almost 150 entries by top children's authors and illustrators on the subject of war gathered for Lines in the Sand, one of the most talked-about titles at this year's Bologna Book Fair.

It is the brainchild of children's author Mary Hoffman and her daughter Rhiannon Lassiter, who amassed the copy within a month. The collection is aimed at key stages 2 and 3 although Laurence Anholt's allegorical story "Eco-Wolf and the War Pigs" ("Like, cool it, brother-sisters . . . Lay down your fir cones. Lay down your skunk poo") is suitable for younger children.

Virtually all the poems are new; exceptions include Adrian Mitchell's classic apocalyptic poem "On the Beach at Cambridge".

The focus is on wars of the past 50 years, from Rachel Anderson's account of the early life of her son, adopted from Vietnam, to Michael Morpurgo's letter home from an Argentinian soldier in the Falklands.

Other pieces respond to events in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kosovo, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. But several pieces look into the future and Kevin Crossley-Holland has donated an extract from the final volume of his Arthur trilogy, describing an encounter between Christians and Saracens.

"Lines in the Sand: new writing on war and peace", will be published by Frances Lincoln on June 12, pound;4.99, with all profits and royalties to Unicef's emergency appeal for Iraqi children

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