Scottish poet inspires Wishaw primary kids with captivating poetry workshop.

A primary school in Wishaw had a special visit from a well-known Scots poet and writer, which resulted in an exciting meal of ‘Neeps and Tatties’ for the students. The event was organized by the equality charity Nil by Mouth as part of their ‘Neeps and Tatties’ project. This project aims to use language to explore religious and cultural differences among people. The students, who were in primary six at Wishaw Primary Academy, engaged in various activities with Thomas Clarke, delving into the Scots language in preparation for Burns Night.

The highlight of the day was the reading of ‘Neeps & Tatties,’ a book written entirely in Scots by Carey Morning and illustrated by Anna York. The story revolves around two rival vegetable tribes who eventually set aside their differences and embrace a harmonious future. The book addresses important issues such as discrimination and prejudice, equipped with classroom games and activities that promote understanding of diverse cultures. It even delves into the significance of food and festivals in different traditions.

Since its launch in January 2021, ‘Neeps & Tatties’ has been used in over 1,000 schools throughout Scotland. To bring the story to life, Nil by Mouth collaborates with various Scots artists who conduct interactive sessions in classrooms. Thanks to funding from North Lanarkshire Council, 100 teachers received copies of the book, all of which were claimed within two days.

Thomas Clarke’s visit to Wishaw Primary Academy was made possible by the Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Programme, which supports author visits to schools and community groups across the country. The purpose of the program is to make reading more accessible to all.

Emma Alexander, Engagement Officer at Nil by Mouth, expressed her enthusiasm for the event, praising Thomas Clarke’s warm and engaging demeanor. She also mentioned the long-standing fruitful relationship between Nil by Mouth and several schools in North Lanarkshire. The collaboration with the council and the Scottish Book Trust strengthens the bond and furthers their mission of creating a tolerant and inclusive Scotland. As part of these efforts, a digital version of ‘Neeps & Tatties’ is available for free download on their website, allowing schools and families to access it easily.

Teachers have reported that ‘Neeps & Tatties’ provides an approachable way to address complex issues. Having artists like Thomas Clarke bring the story to life enhances the campaign’s impact in building a Scotland that is more progressive and accepting, moving away from bigotry.

Thomas Clarke is an influential figure in the revival of the Scots language. His achievements include translating books like ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ into Scots, contributing to the preservation and revitalization of the language.