Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 is now closed. Good luck to everyone who entered, and well done!

Jackie Kay, photo credit Matthew Kay. Raymond Antrobus, photo credit Tenee Attoh.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 is now closed. Next year’s competition will launch in spring 2020. All entrants will be contacted in mid-September with the results, and the winners will be publicly announced on 2 October 2019. If you have any queries email us at [email protected] or call us on 020 7420 9880.

To stay up-to-date with everything that The Poetry Society offers young writers, sign up to the Young Poets Network mailing list, and visit Young Poets Network for year-round poetry competitions, events and advice.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is the biggest poetry competition for 11-17 year olds in the world. It’s free to enter and poems can be on any theme or subject. The competition has kick-started the career of so many writers, including poetry stars Helen Mort, Sarah Howe, Richard Osmond, Jay Bernard, Caroline Bird and many more.

We are delighted that Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay are the judges of this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. We know that our judges are as excited as we are to read the entries to this year’s competition. When we asked our esteemed judges what they were looking for in a winning entry, Raymond said that he was looking for “[s]omething that sings, moves and inspires. Something that shows the world as I’ve yet to see, feel or hear it,” whilst Jackie remarked that she is looking for “poems that are memorable, that I’ll carry around with me for the day. An arresting first line, an unusual image, a distinct and interesting voice, a different tone. I love coming across poems that make me look at something in a completely new way, and I love poems that work as well when I read them out loud as they do on the page.” To find out more from the two judges this year, check out Raymond and Jackie’s new judges blog page. 

2018 Winners

“The poems felt politically brave and socially aware; much braver than I remember feeling at that age. As long as they hold on to that wisdom, humankind might be all right.” – Caroline Bird, Foyle 2018 judge

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award! You can read the top 15 poems right now via the sidebar to the right of this page. 

Judges Daljit Nagra and Caroline Bird (herself a former winner) chose 15 winners and 85 commended poets from nearly 6,000 poets and nearly 11,000 poems. Writers from 83 different countries entered the competition, from as far afield as Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Malaysia. Selecting just 100 winners was a tough job – Daljit Nagra has spoken about “the maturity of the work we read; so many of our young poets showed a keen awareness of serious issues such as identity politics, environment issues and the global tensions currently between nation states.”

The Foyle Young Poets 2018 anthology will see the top 15 poems in print, with the commended poems being published in an online anthology.

15 top poets

Suzanne Antelme, Mathilda Armiger, Caitlin Catheld Pyper, Maiya Dambawinna, Suki Datar Jones, Olivia Hu, Angela King, Sammy Loehnis, Cia Mangat, Maggie Olszewski, Em Power, Lucy Thynne, Elizabeth Thatcher, Sophie Thynne and Georgie Woodhead.

85 commended poets

Maymunn Ali, Danique Bailey, Elinor Bailey, Zoë Benton, Maya Berardi, Lai Ling Berthoud, Will Boagey, Nia Bolland, Samara Bolton, Jazmine Brett, Carys Bufford, Adriana Carter, Ella Christian-Sims, Chloe Chuck, Evie Collins, Ginny Darke, Lyra Davies, Cosima Deetman, Isla Defty, Linnet Drury, Amelia Dubin, Ruby Evans, Annie Fan, Sarah Feng, Lizzie Freestone, Iris Gilbert, Alisha Gokal, Amal Haddad, Gaia Harper, Matilda Houston-Brown, Rebecca Huang, Amaani Khan, Cindy Kuang, Meredith LeMaître, Rory Lewis, Mukahang Limbu, Serena Lin, Megan Lunny, Aisha Mango-Borja, Sofia Marliini Heikkonen, Cleo Martin-Evans, Marina McCready, Divya Mehrish, Edie Michael, Noah Morrison, Eira Elisabeth Murphy, Nandita Naik, Sophie Norton, Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo, Hayden O’Rourke, Niamh O’Toole-Mackridge, Emily Palmer, Sophie Paquette, Charlie Peng, Natalie Perman, Domi Pila, Naomi Rae, Morgan Rhys, Madeleine Ridout, Corina Robinson, Noah Rouse, Neave Scott, Sophie Shanahan Claire Shang, Tom Shaw, Maia Siegel, Madeleine Song, Katherine Spencer-Davies, Beatrice Stewart, Zola Tatton, Donovan Timmins, Naomi Tomlin, Alexis Venzon, Sadali Wanniarachchi, Jessica Warren, Benjamin Waterer, Fox White, Hana Wilderman, Maya Williams-Hamm, Gina Wiste, Jasmine Woodcock, Jessica Xu, Ziqi Yan, Julia Zhou and Sarah Zhou.

You can read the 2018 Top 15 winning poems in our online anthology, The Walls Were Not Big Enough to Hold You alongside our fantastic 2018 Commended Anthology.

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Anthology:

Foyle Young Poets of the Year – Commended Poems:


The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is the biggest award for writers aged 11-17. 

It welcomes poems on any theme and any length. It is completely FREE to enter for anyone aged 11-17 in the WORLD. Poems must be in English or in BSL (do contact if you have queries regarding any BSL entries).

If you require the winners’ anthology, or any information about the competition, in an alternative format, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Since it began the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices. Past winners include Jay Bernard, Sarah Howe, Helen Mort, Phoebe Power, Caroline Bird, Richard O’Brien and many many more incredible poets. 

Winners receive a fantastic range of prizes, from mentoring to a residential Arvon writing course, Poetry Society membership to books. The Poetry Society also continues to support winners’ development with performance, publication and internship opportunities.  Read more about the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award…

The Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street
London WC2H 9BX
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7420 9880

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