Supporting Writers

We have a number of writers and poets who are connected to the Mother Tongue Other Tongue project. Some of them are available to deliver workshops in schools for a fee. Please check their individual websites or contact them for more information about how they could work with your school.


The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition is coordinated by Routes into Languages North West:

Routes into languages - left image

Malala Yousafzai

"Our cultural heritage, identity and languages are all important to us and poetry is a great way to express these – I am very inspired by The Mother Tongue Other Tongue Project" 

Read the poems from the 2019 Mother Tongue Other Tongue Northwest Anthology:



Download the Anthology 2019


Manchester Childrens Book Festival

Dame Carol Ann Duffy – North West England

Britain’s first female Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy is also queen of the dramatic monologue. Duffy’s poetry gives voice to society’s alienated and ignored in an unstuffy but compelling manner, wrestling with ideas about language and identity. As Duffy says herself: “I like to use simple words but in a complicated way.”

Born in Glasgow in 1955, Duffy was brought up in Staffordshire and studied philosophy at the University of Liverpool, where she was active in the city’s underground poetry scene in the 1970s. Her first full-length collection Standing Female Nude in 1985 was something of a landmark, forging an anti-establishment voice with a colloquial lyricism. Duffy reached a wider audience with The World’s Wife (1999), a series of witty dramatic monologues spoken by women from fairy tales and myths, and the women usually air-brushed from history, such as Mrs Midas and Mrs Darwin. Her output has also included a formidable amount of writing for children.

Her former relationship with the poet Jackie Kay has informed some of her best-known work. Her most recent adult collection, Rapture, a first person account of a love affair, won the TS Eliot Prize in 2005. Duffy’s poem Education for Leisure, about a violent teenager, was controversially removed from an examination board’s GCSE syllabus in 2008.  In a move typical of the poet, Duffy responded with a sardonic new poem about knives in Shakespeare.

Mandy Coe – North West England

Mandy Coeis a prize-winning poet and author of six books. She has been featured on BBC radio and television (Woman’s Hour, Poetry Please and CBeebies) as well as the Radio Times and the Guardian.

Based in the North West of England, Mandy writes poetry for adults and children and as an educationalist has been commissioned to write poems and educational material for the Barbican, the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, National Poetry Day, National Galleries, the Write Team (Bath Festivals), The Poetry Society and Booktrust. She reads at poetry and literature events throughout the UK and her work as an educationalist has been featured in the TES.

Mandy regularly works with schools as a visiting author and ran poetry workshops for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue Launch event for the North West. Mandy worked with groups of pupils from Webster Primary, Trinity High School and Manchester Academy, with support from mentors from Loreto College and PGCE students from MMU. The pupils produced multi-lingual poetry in just two hours, which they then performed as part of the Launch Event. Mandy was very impressed with their work, commenting, "If those children were made up of electricity they could have lit up a whole city."  For more information visit:

ChriSJaM – North West England

ChriSJaM is a Poet, Poet Coach, Project manager and Dj. He is keen to support Mother Tongue Other Tongue through workshops and performances in schools. Chris met Guy Perry three years ago through a shared passion for working with young people and language he was thrilled to get involved in wordsmith awards. Over the three years his role has increased and he is honoured to be project managing as well as getting his mind blown by students from some of Manchester’s most creative schools.

Anjum Malik – North West England

Poet and scriptwriter, Anjum Malik, was born in Dharan, Saudi Arabia of Pakistani parents, Anjum’s languages are Urdu, English, Punjabi, Hindi with some understanding of Gujerati, Bengali and Arabic. She now lives in Manchester. She comes from a family of prominent poets, writers, photographers and painters in Pakistan. When she was seven, her family returned to Pakistan. They lived in Rawalpindi where she attended school and travelled throughout Pakistan extensively. Her parents employed a private tutor for Anjum, Masterji, who taught Anjum all about Urdu literature after school for two hours a day. After four years Anjum’s family moved to England. Anjum was raised in the Islamic tradition, her knowledge of Pakistani culture is extensive together with experience of British urban life in a variety of English locations both North and South. Anjum offers poetry workshops in schools.

Shamshad Khan – North West England

Shamshad Khan is a poet and performer of her own work. Her performances have included collaborations with musicians and beatboxers. “Megalomaniac” toured UK theatres, other work featured at the Beurne (Switzerland) Women Live art Performers Conference and the Mexico City Literature Festival. She has run creative writing workshops in prisons, community centres and academic institutions. Her poetry collection “Megalomaniac” has been studied on the undergraduate English Lit/Creative Writing Course at Lancaster University (2007-10). To perform as part of the Contemporary Women Writers Series, Leeds Met. University (29th May 2013).

Her work is also discussed/featured in “Textile- the journal of cloth and culture” Berg, Nov 08; “Pakistani Diasporas- culture, conflict and change”, Oxford University Press 09; “Region/writing/Home” Moving Worlds, Leeds University, 09; :British Asian Muslim Women Multiple spatialities and Cosmopolitanism (Palgrave/McMillan, 2012).

Shamshad has a BSc in Biology and Msc in animal behaviour. She has worked for the Greater Manchester Low Pay Unit as researcher, trainer and campaigner.

Gillian Clarke – Wales

Gillian Clarke is one of Wales’ most influential and widely read contemporary writers, and is the current National Poet of Wales. Her work is studied by GCSE students throughout Britain. She was born in Cardiff in 1937 to Welsh speaking parents, and lived in Cardiff, Penarth and Pembrokeshire during her upbringing, the latter during wartime. She graduated from the University of Wales, Cardiff with a degree in English and worked at the BBC in London for a year before returning to Wales and taking up teaching posts. In the mid 1980s Clarke moved to rural Ceredigion where she now runs an organic small-holding. In 1990 she co-founded Ty Newydd writers’ centre in North Wales, of which she is the president. Since 1994, she has also been a tutor in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan in addition to working as a freelance tutor. Clarke has wide experience as an editor and translator, having worked on the Anglo Welsh Review and on various children’s anthologies of poetry, and she has translated poetry in Welsh to English from writers, such as Menna Elfyn and T Llew Jones. She has received three Poetry Book Society recommendations for her works: Letting In The Rumour in 1989, The King Of Britain’s Daughter in 1993 and Five Fields in 1998. In 1999 she was awarded the Glyndŵr Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales. In March 2008 Clarke was announced as the third National Poet of Wales, succeeding Professor Gwyn Thomas. In 2009, she published a new collection of poetry, A Recipe for Water, and wrote a poem to mark the inauguration of new president Barack Obama. In the autumn of 2009 Clarke was involved in theCeltic Myths project for the BBC Wales History website and wrote the story Sabrina’s Mountain Adventure, which is narrated by Ruth Jones. In April 2010, she wrote a sonnet entitled Blue Sky Thinking, inspired by the ban on air travel in the UK due to the volcanic ash cloud emitted by Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano. In the autumn of 2010, Clarke embarked on a poetry tour of Wales, and wrote a tour diary for the BBC Wales Arts website. In December 2010, it was announced that Clarke was the winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

For more information visit: