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25 February 2015

Third year BA English student wins Create: Art for Autism award

Jonathan Andrews, a third year BA English Language and Literature student, was winner of the People's Choice Award

Jonathan Andrews, a third year BA English Language and Literature student, won the People’s Choice Award and was highly commended by judges at Create: Art for Autism 2014,for his poem Creativity

He was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at the age of nine and much of his poetry is based around his experience of autism. 'I'm very politically active regarding disability and autism,' says Jonathan. 'I serve on three advisory boards - the graduate employment site Great with Disability, UK charity Ambitious About Autism, and the SHAPE project run by the National Autistic Society and the University of York.'

Jonathan told us he views poetry as an extension of his activism, providing another way to spread his message, raise awareness and ‘form afresh/new truths from old malignant lies’ (a quote from his prizewinning poem). 'I also love poetry for its lyrical genius, obscure (and at times obtuse!) technical rules, and its imagist qualities,' says Jonathan. 'My poems recount a lived experience of autism – short, evocative snippets of this experience are the most powerful and  the poetic form is the perfect medium to convey them.'

Although he writes on a variety of topics, Jonathan says his autism poetry is closest to him and that his time at King's has helped him to explore his poetic interests. 'I’d like to thank Ruth Padel, whose module Creative Writing Poetry I took last year - her tutelage greatly increased my confidence as a poet and ultimately lead to me writing these poems,' says Jonathan.

Thanks also to Helena Longair - a National Autistic Society mentor I met in my first year at King's, to Marianne Dyer - the KCL Disability Officer and to Hannah Crawforth and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann - both of whom have included creative writing tasks in their Reading Paradise Lost and Sonnets Renaissance to Modern modules. Finally, many thanks to my personal tutor Rowan Boyson, who took my first ever Reading Poetry class at King’s and who also encouraged me to put pen

Jonathan Andrews

In this story

Rowan Rose Boyson

Reader in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature