Story at a glance

  • Nadim Shamma-Sourgen is a 4-year-old who loves to write poetry about nature and his own life.
  • After a colleague of his mother shared Nadim’s poems on Twitter, fans wanted more.
  • Publishing company Walker Books has offered him a book deal for his poetry.

As an award-winning poet and writer, Kate Clanchy has quite a platform. But on Twitter, she mostly uses it to share her students’ work, rather than her own. 

Clanchy, who won the 2020 Orwell Prize for Political writing for her book “Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me,” is a teacher with First Story, a nonprofit that encourages young people to write creatively. Now, one of her youngest students is getting a book deal. 

Nadim Shamma-Sourgen, a four-year-old poet, will be one of the youngest-ever writers to land a book deal after signing on with publishing company Walker Books. Clanchy published his first poem on Twitter after meeting his mother Yasmine Shamma, a poet herself and a lecturer in literature at the University of Reading. 

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Walker executive Denise Johnstone-Burt told the Guardian that she had been “astonished that anyone so young could write such sensitive verse.”


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

But Clanchy, who refers to Nadim as the Four Year Old Poet, said his young age is exactly what makes his work important.

“I wasn’t tweeting the poems because they were so much like adult work – it was because they were so purely childlike,” Clanchy told the Guardian. “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.”

Yasmin told SkyNews that Nadim is still learning to read and write, so he dictates his poems to her. He likes writing about nature, he said, but also writes about his daily experiences, such as coming home from school. 

“I feel happy that my poems will be in a book,” he told the Guardian. “When my poems are in a book, can I please have a copy?”


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Published on Jul 22, 2020