The Rathbones Folio Prize, also known as the Writers’ Prize’, is proud to support writing of all genres and so we are delighted to share work from the new anthology ‘Unmute: Young Voices from Lockdown’. It’s an anthology packed full of emotive and stunningly articulate poems written during lockdown, edited by Folio Academy member and Rathbones Folio Prize judge Kate Clanchy, with poems from poets including Aisha Borja, a Rathbones Folio mentee, Asima Qayyum the Rathbones Folio Prize Administrator and young students who have all worked with First Story.

‘We were quarantined; we were frightened; we were baffled; we were ill; we were sequestered from touch; we were shut up with our families; we went through Ramadan and Easter without family gatherings; we witnessed the death of George Floyd; we raged, we demonstrated, we wondered; we longed. These were all national events; they were also the stories the group told each other each week in poems which amazed me because they were so accomplished and yet still so fresh and honest, so clearly the work of young people. Very often I posted the poems on my Twitter account, @KateClanchy1, and saw, from the thousands of retweets and likes, that many other people valued these despatches from the closed bedrooms of the young. As lockdown solely eased, I gathered the poems together in this anthology. Like the group, this book is much more than the sum of its parts, and was created for love, and for the joy of writing.’ – Kate Clanchy.

We hope you enjoy the poems shared here and you can buy the whole anthology via Amazon Kindle by clicking here.