Luton poet Earl Venner is looking for talented young schoolchildren to illustrate his debut book of verse which features witches, worms and ogres.
Earl – who sees himself as a latter-day Edgar Allan Poe – was diagnosed with bulbar palsy (a form of motor neurone disease) nine years ago.
He has been writing comic ditties to amuse his nearest and dearest ever since he can remember and recalls: “Family and friends are used to little verses in their birthday cards.
“Then when my Australian nephew wrote back to say that he and his girlfriend and their families had cracked up reading my poem and thought it was hilarious, I thought hmmm . . . and the book idea was born.”
The former telecoms engineer who lost the power of speech as the disease progressed intends emailing local art teachers and heads inviting their students to take part in an inter-school competition.
“I’m looking for kids with fresh ideas and talent,” he says. “I don’t want a hint of ideas management, I’m ready to be surprised. I’m hoping my words will inspire them to draw something unique, enabling them to be published at an early age.”
Earl, of Cutenhoe Road, will publish via Amazon when the drawings are ready.