Award- winning poet Degna Stone has curated a project to celebrate British and Irish authors and poets of African and Caribbean heritage with GCSEPod (@GCSEPod)
To mark National Poetry Day (7th October) leading EdTech company GCSEPod have relaunched their free audio-video resources, or ‘pods’, to celebrate British and Irish authors and poets of African and Caribbean heritage shining a light on their lives, influences and works. There are 25 ‘Pods’ in total, which are designed to be freely accessible by teachers, pupils and parents, to contribute to learning in the classroom and at home.
Award winning poet Degna Stone worked with GCSEPod on the project. Degna researched 100 writers across Britain and Ireland to take into consideration a real range of lived experiences, before refining her shortlist to 25 figures. Looking at each author’s background, influences and approaches to writing, the pods, which were written by Degna herself, will introduce students to the works of these brilliant poets and novelists.
The resources can be accessed here.
Degna Stone said:
“It’s so important to get a real diversity of writers. There’s this idea that there’s a certain type of Black writer, or Black writing, which illustrates the experience of British and Irish writers of African and Caribbean heritage. I wanted to make sure that, where possible, I had a mix of different people across the UK and Ireland rather than just being London-centric. I was also really keen that we weren’t just looking at fiction writers, but that the longer list included poets, playwrights, journalists – all people who are storytellers.
“My experience from doing my own GCSEs was that the focus on Black writing tended to be on African-American writers, rather than on writers of African and Caribbean heritage closer to home. My hope is to encourage teachers and their students to think about who is missing from their reading lists and to seek them out, whether that’s Black writers from the UK and Ireland, or other writers marginalised in the curriculum.
“The curriculum is only half the story though – with subjects like English and History you’re supposed to read around the subject anyway, so the chance to fill in any holes in the prescribed reading list is already there. Teachers don’t need to wait for the curriculum to be decolonised to ensure that when they make recommendations for wider reading, each of their students should see themselves reflected in that list.”
Emma Slater, Director of Education at GCSEPod, said:
“Everyone at GCSEPod is delighted to relaunch this exciting project on National Poetry Day. Reading poetry encourages a love of language and many poets convey important and moving themes in their work. We hope lots of students and teachers will take a look at these free resources.
Some recent research concluded that only 1 % of school students study books written by people of colour at GCSE. At GCSEPod, it’s on our agenda to use our platform to help enrich the curriculum and we have further special projects planned to shine a light on historically overlooked topics.”