More About the Author
The original Potty Poet, and the inventor of the genre, Gez Walsh burst on to the children's poetry scene in 1997 with his ground-breaking collection The Spot on My Bum. Originally written to encourage his own dyslexic son to read, this book has now sold many hundreds of thousands of copies, and helped engage kids all over the country - and sometimes beyond - in the joy of reading, writing, literacy, and self-expression. Especially as their subject-matter of the poems is an obvious attention- grabber and their humour provides an easy entry point for reluctant readers and students potentially unwilling to engage with "mainstream" poetry.
Since those early days, his wacky collections of poetry have been featured on innumerable local radio stations, BBC TV's Fully Booked, Look North, and Yorkshire TV's Calendar, as well as festivals such as the Northern Childrens' Writers Festival, Young Readers UK, Hull Literature Festival, Manchester Poetry Festival, The Glastonbury Festival, and many others.
In recent years, Gez has branched out far beyond the confines of his original writing, having become a radio presenter for radio Phoenix fm (96.7fm). Radio Phoenix has facilities for young people to attend media study courses. Gez has worked on many projects where young people have written a play, then gone in to a studio to record it. They can then later learn how to put on sound effects and music, under the supervision of the station's technical team. The play then can be podcasted, for all to hear. He also invites schools to pick a few students to appear on his radio show where they can broadcast live to up to sixty thousand listeners. As well as sound, Gez also works with visual images: he has worked on many films, using young, talented film-makers fresh from University, as this is the medium that most young people want to break into, the most successful so far being a film about the holocaust by a young film maker, Edward Roe, which has now been distributed around the country.
Gez has been working for the last two years with local government and education authorities to write and develop one-off unique projects. His brief ,as always, has been to engage young people who would not normally be interested in art or literature. Working with young people of all age ranges and backgrounds, Gez has worked to help them to develop their communication skills along with building confidence. For Gez, it's not about ticking boxes, but helping young people to see the point of education and develop a love of subjects, without them ever thinking that they are "learning" anything. A typical example of one of these projects was an anti-bullying conference where Gez worked over a three month period with schools to help young people to develop their own performance piece. They were introduced to living books. Instead of reading about people's experiences, they were introduced to a range of people as diverse as gangsters to holocaust survivors and they could ask any questions they liked. Lots of the year nine students who were involved said that they would never forget the experience as long as they lived. At the end of the three months, a local theatre was booked and the schools came together to celebrate differences.