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Anthony Anaxagorou appointed Rugby School Poet-in-Residence

Anthony Anaxagorou, winner of this year’s Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize (May 2023) for his collection of poems, Heritage Aesthetics, is to become Rugby School’s Poet in Residence 2023 – 24.


He is the School’s third Poet-in-Residence, following Cecilia Knapp, Young People’s Laureate for London (2020-21), and Rachel Long, founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, based at Southbank Centre in London. 

During his residence, Mr Anaxagorou will give readings of his work at Rugby School to its own students and those from local schools, and run workshops for members of the School’s creative writing group. He will also run poetry sessions at next year’s Festival on the Close, Rugby’s annual celebration of culture, creativity and community. 

Rugby has also announced that 17-year-old  Nihal Kumar will become the School’s student Poet Laureate for 2023-24. He will edit ‘Rabbit Hole’, the School’s annual creative writing anthology (Lewis Carroll, or Charles Lutwidge Dodson, attended Rugby); run workshops for the creative writing group; organise a workshop for the winners of the Prep School Poetry Competition; and host Mr Anaxagorou’s visits. He is currently taking A-levels in English, Business, and Textiles, and is also Rugby’s lead prefect on DEI issues.  

Nihal Kumar

Lika Gorskaia, the School’s student Poet Laureate in 2022-23, takes up a place to study English Literature at Oxford University this autumn.  

Tom Eyre-Maunsell, Head of English at Rugby, said: ‘English Literature is one of our most popular  subjects. We have 82 students studying A level Literature; a further 25 (our first IB cohort) have just taken their exams, and of course that includes English. It’s such a thriving subject here because students relish the chance to critically engage with a diverse set of texts, and appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with other bright young minds.’ 

Last year’s English Literature A level results were 79% A* - A, and 100% A* - B. One-third of the A level English Literature cohort this year aims to study English (or an English-related course) at university next year. 

Every year the School’s Head of Creative Writing, Alix Scott-Martin, invites 16 students (across all year groups)  - regarded as particularly gifted by the English Department – to  attend a creative writing course for a week at Easter, staying either at Ted Hughes’ former home, Lumb Bank in Yorkshire, or John Osborne’s house in Shropshire, both maintained by the Arvon Foundation. Two published writers join the group to facilitate workshops and discuss the students’ (and accompanying teachers’) work on a one-to-one basis. 

‘The benefits of working with prize-winning, published poets are immeasurable for our young writers,’ said Alix Scott-Martin. ‘They feel empowered to develop their own voices. Creative writing is not about targeting assessment objectives. It allows students to find ways to express themselves and rethink their experiences imaginatively.’

Anthony Anaxagorou