With Heathrow expecting a record 850,000 passengers and an extra 250,000 families to take off from there this Easter, the UK’s hub airport has announced a lyrical new initiative: Heathrow’s Passport to Poetry. Teaming up with literary favorites Michael Rosen, Danny Wallace, MG Leonard, and performance poet Laura Dockrill, Heathrow has created new “poetry points” with overhead speakers that families can stand underneath to listen to unique new poems, all inspired by holidays and tales of far-flung lands and exciting adventures.
From high-flying bugs with MG Leonard to the riddle of a suitcase and its travels with ex-Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, holiday dreams from Laura Dockrill and airport code fun from Danny Wallace, the poems can also be accessed at Heathrow.com/poems and will take children on exciting, magical journeys before they have even boarded their plane.
For those feeling inspired to put pen to paper, Heathrow is also hosting an Easter poetry competition as part of the initiative, for children under the age of 16, as well as special poetry workshops across the terminals. Wannabe poets simply need to create a holiday-themed poem and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Three winners will then be chosen by the authors, and will have their poem framed as well as winning a voucher worth £200 – perfect for stocking up on writing supplies. Visit Heathrow.com for terms and conditions.
As well as the Passport to Poetry Initiative, the airport will be rolling out family-friendly offers during the Easter holidays such as ‘kids eat free’ at restaurants, free play areas and family dedicated security lanes.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Easter at Heathrow brings huge numbers of families travelling for leisure and we wanted to make it as enjoyable as possible as soon as their journey begins. We hope that by providing poetic inspiration from children’s authors such as Michael Rosen and Danny Wallace, children and families will enjoy getting involved during their journey.”
Danny is currently the Artist in Residence at BBC Comedy, appearing on TV and radio as well as being a columnist for Shortlist. A regular Sunday Times bestseller with his books such as Join Me and Yes Man, which later became a major Warner Brothers film starring Jim Carrey, his latest title in his children’s book series Hamish and the Neverpeople was released earlier this year.
Having initially worked for the BBC when he left university, Michael worked at BBC Schools Television which led to his first book for children called Mind Your Own Business, illustrated by Quentin Blake. Since then, he has written over 100 books as well as working within schools, theatres and appearing on radio and TV. He was also the Children’s Laureate between 2007 and 2009.
Having previously been named one of the top ten literary stars of 2008 by The Times, Laura has risen to fame as a performance poet and illustrator. An alumni of the Brit School, she has penned books such as Darcy Burdock, Ugly Shy Girl, Echoes and Mistakes in the Background.
Previously a Senior Digital Producer for the National Theatre, and at the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Globe, MG Leonard also spent her early career in the music industry running Setanta Records, an independent record label, and managing bands. After leaving the music industry, she trained as an actor, dabbling in directing and producing as well as performing, before deciding to write her stories down. Her best-selling debut children’s book, Beetle Boy, the first part of the Beetle Trilogy, launched this March to rave reviews and as Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month.