Thursday, October 8, 2020

Live with Conrad Burdekin

5th - 10th October marks National Library Week and in celebration we have held numerous online events over Zoom and Crowdcast, offering a new event experience, and playback ability with Closed Captions making the library more accessible than ever before.

We happily filled over 60 school classrooms this week with poet, storyteller and proud Yorkshire pudding lover Conrad Burdekin, who told interactive stories of bogeys, biscuits and spoonerisms! 

Watch the playback of Live with Conrad Burdekin.

We received so many amazing questions from school children that sadly Conrad couldn't answer them all, so we decided to put his answers here instead, including an original poem!! Hope you enjoy.

How long have you been doing poetry for? 

I started writing poems in school, but I’ve been doing them professionally for about 15 years

When did you start writing poetry?

The first poem I remember writing was to a girl I liked and had a caravan in it. I’m not sure why, I can’t remember?!

What is your favourite Marvel character? 

Iron Man I think – I was a late starter with Marvel, but have LOVED the films recently and watched them all on Disney + etc. 

What's the best part of being a poet?

Having an idea, writing it down, turning it into a poem, and sharing it with other people (especially when they like it!)

how old are you?

44 (I know! Ancient or what?!)

How many hobnobs can you fit in your mouth? 

I’m not sure. But I can manage about 7 big marshmallows.

Have you written any poems about jelly?

Yes! A few. There’s at least two in my latest book ‘Space Café and other Poems’

What is your favourite colour?

Depends how I’m feeling, but it’s tough to think of a better colour than bright Orange

Do you like making poetry? What made you want to be a poet?

I really do. And I don’t think I particularly decided to be a poet – it was just something that I like doing and thought I was quite good at.

Is your job hard?

Sometimes it is when I can’t think of how to finish a poem and it’s not going right. But most of the time it’s just fun.

How long does it normally take to think of a poem?

To think of one – not long at all. Ideas keep flying at me all the time. Sometimes it takes a lot longer to actually write it down.

Do you get mad sometimes writing a poem?

YES! Very mad sometimes, and sometimes I just scrunch up the paper I’m using and throw it across the lounge.

Does it take a lot of tries to get a poem perfect?

It can do – my poem ‘Teachers Pick their Noses’ took WEEKS before I could think of an ending.

What is your favourite book you have made? 

Probably ‘Space Café’ because it’s my newest one. But I really like ‘The Baked Bean Queen’ too.

How did you become an author? 

Well, you need to like writing stories and poems and using your imagination. If you do like those things then you keep doing them, and eventually, if you’re lucky, you end up making a book.

What is your favourite book?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. And my favourite poem is ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ by Roald Dahl

Why do you write poems?

It’s the only way I know how to get all the crazy ideas out of my head

What's your favourite poem?

My favourite poem that I’ve written changes all the time, but right now I like ‘Spoonerisms’ in ‘The Baked Bean Queen’

Do you have any other pets?

Nope, just Pebbles the most ridiculous dog in Yorkshire. In the past we have had two hamsters, three guinea pigs, and a woodlouse (!), but Pebbles is the best of all those.

What is the first poem you wrote?

My first proper poem that is in one of my books was, I think, a poem about My Daughter Alice which is in ‘The Hungrumptious Blumpfh’

How long did it take to write your first poem?

23 minutes and 12 seconds

how long does it take you to write a book?

This                                                                                                 long

How many poems have you written?

Oooh, lots. There’s somewhere around 50 poems in each of my 5 books (so that’s 250), but I’ve got LOADS more on my computer and also I write poems when I visit schools, so I reckon I’ve written over 1000.

What is the poem you're most proud of? 

Spoonerisms in ‘The Baked Bean Queen’ because I felt quite clever when I’d written it!

Do you shove bananas in?

When I’m riding my bike and need some energy I do!

Who inspires you?

Lots of people – my Y4 teacher was a huge inspiration, as was Roald Dahl. I’m inspired by lots of other poets that I’m friends with as well.

Who is your favourite author?

Roald Dahl

What's your favourite animal?

Dog (even though my dog is bonkers)

Do you have to read your poems off paper or can you remember them?

I’m not very good at remembering them. I know SOME off by heart (for example, The Biscuit Burglar) but usually I need the words in front of me. A few years ago I was asked to join in our local village Pantomime, and that was VERY hard because I had LOTS of words to remember. 

Do you like Kits Kats?

I love them! In fact I scoffed a Kit Kat Chunky for lunch today, JUST before I zoomed with all you guys.

Can you pleased write a poem about Naked Mole Rats?? PLEASE!! 

Have you ever seen a Naked Mole Rat?

No clothes, not even a hat

The sight is obscene

If you know what I mean

And he terrifies next door’s cat

What is your most popular poem?

Supersonic Gran (in the book ‘Supersonic Gran’), Banana (in the book ‘Space Café), and Mabel Mobbler (in the book ‘Teachers Pick their Noses)

Do you have to redraft your poems lots of times?

Sometimes they come out almost fully formed, sometimes I have LOTS of scribbling, crossing out, arrows, numbers, etc.etc.

What footy team do you support? 

Man United – we used to be good.

  • Discover more about Conrad Burdekin on his website

Huge thanks go out to Conrad for this great event and all the schools who attended.

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