Four-Year-Old Poet Lands Book Deal

By July 26, 2020News, Poetry

While the world of words would be lost without poetry, it can be tricky for even well-read adults to fully grasp its varying rhyme schemes and stanzas. If you have memories of long hours spent in school analysing classic poems, then you’ll be impressed to learn that four-year-old Nadim Shamma-Sourgen is set to have his poems published next year.

As The Guardian reports, Nadim Shamma-Sourgen lives in the UK, and will see his poems published next Summer, following a book deal with Walker Books. Denise Johnstone-Burt, an executive at Walker, said she was “astonished that anyone so young could write such sensitive verse”.

“The poems talk about such important feelings, like love and loneliness, and Nadim finds the perfect words. They are simple, inspirational and have a wisdom all of their own”.

One of Nadim’s poems, called Coming Home, reads: “Take our gloves off / Take our shoes off / Put them where they’re supposed to go. / You take off your brave feeling / Because there’s nothing / to be scared of in the house”.

Baddies reads: “Baddies love their baddie friends / Even very baddie ones // Policemen might arrest them / But they’ll still have their love”.

Nadim was first discovered when poet and teacher Kate Clanchy, who won this year’s Orwell Prize, met his mother, a lecturer at the University of Reading, Yasmine Shamma via their shared interest in teaching refugees about poetry. Clanchy was so impressed by Nadim’s poems that she shared them on social media. The young poet’s talents were soon noticed and the boy was interviewed by Sky News.

While the idea of a four-year-old being a published poet may make him sound rather precocious, his mother explained that he is still learning to read and write, ad that he will sometimes dictate his poems for her to write down. Speaking of his poems, Clanchy said: “I wasn’t tweeting the poems because they were so much like adult work – it was because they were so purely childlike. Nadim has the very rare ability to articulate in images what it is to be a four-year-old, to love your mum and bugs, to wonder about baddies, baths and love, and to ‘hang up your brave’ when you come in from nursery. The individual poems moved thousands on Twitter, but they work even better as a group because they create a whole world full of glitter and hugs. This will be such a special book to share with a child.”

The publication will make Nadim one of the youngest authors ever. The Guinness World Records holds that Dorothy Straight, who wrote How the World Began in 1962 at the age of four is the youngest commercially published female author, though the book was published two years after she initially wrote it. The record for the youngest male author goes to Thanuwana Serasinghe, a Sri Lankan child who was only ten days away from turning 5 when he published his book Junk Food in January 2017.

When asked about his upcoming book, Nadim said: “I like writing poems especially about nature. I feel happy that my poems will be in a book,” he said. “When my poems are in a book, can I please have a copy?”

It has been confirmed by his publisher that he will indeed get a copy.

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