Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019.

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

“If poetry is the language of being human, here we have poets speaking in every cadence possible.” – Jackie Kay and Raymond Antrobus, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award judges 2019

On 2 October 2019, the top 15 poets and 85 commended poets who are winners of this year’s Foyle Young Poets Award were announced at a glitzy ceremony at Southbank Centre, London. The top 15 poets read their winning poems to an excited room of young writers, parents, VIP guests and established poets. Following their reading, they heard from and had a chance to ask questions of this year’s judges Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay, as well as Foyle Patrons Ellie Kendrick (herself a former winner) and best-selling poet Nikita Gill.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! You can read the top 15 poems right now in the sidebar to the right of this page. 

The winning entries were selected from over 6,000 poets and over 11,000 poems by this year’s poet judges Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay. Writers aged 11-17 entered the competition from 76 different countries, from as far afield as Vietnam, Romania, Mexico and Japan, as well as the four corners of the UK.

The judges had a difficult task selecting just 100 winners from the many entries from across the world. They commented, “We were happy to get a sense of how many poets come from all different corners of the world – for there are no borders or boundaries to cross in the world of poetry and no one need carry a passport to get in.”

The judges also commented on the dazzling variety of styles and voices in the poems they read and selected as winners: “There were poems that experimented with style, using the language of social media and of text. Serious and surreal poems sit side by side in this wide-ranging collection. Witty poems and sad poems shake hands with each other. We were delighted to get such a strong sense of poetry being a living, breathing relevant form that keeps changing across generations.”

The Foyle Young Poets 2019 anthology will see the top 15 poems in print, with the commended poems being published in an online anthology in March 2020.

15 top poets

Amy Saunders, Annie Davison, Cia Mangat, Dana Collins, Em Power, Helen Woods, Jean Klurfeld, Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith, Libby Russell, Lydia Wei, Nadia Lines, Suzanne Antelme, Talulah Quinto, Thomas Frost and Trinity Robinson.

85 commended poets

Abhilipsa Sahoo, Adriana Aida Che Ismail, Ahana Banerji, Aimee Hartley, Ali Nyirenda, Amelia Clark, Amélie Nixon, Anjali Mulcock, Anna Gilmore Heezen, Anne Kwok, Anya Trofimova, Ari Vishin, Arna Kar, Aziza Adam, Callum Roberts, Charlotte Mills, Corina Robinson, Cosima Deetman, Daniel Chen, Daisy Winstone, Duy Quang Mai, Elise Withey, Elizabeth Thatcher, Ella Saville, Ella Stanton, Emilia Brooks, Emma Miao, Eryn Lee, Esin Aynal, Esther Kim, Eve Connor, Eve Lawson, Eve Warden, Evelyn Byrne, Hannah George, Heather Hughes, Ifeoluwa Olatona, Isabella Cho, Isabelle English, Ishika Jha, Jacob Heagney, Jacob Keneson, Jayla Blaba, Jessica Lawrence, Jimin Lee, Joshua Wood, Kai Jardine, Kate Moore, Katie Kirkpatrick, Khushi Daryani, Kitty Robinson, Lucy Gardner, Lucy Stone, Martha Iris Blue, Meena Rakasi, Meredith LeMaître, Mia Cassidy, Nabeha Dhar, Nancy Gittus, Neha Agrawal, Nizara Ziaudeen, Olivia Petris, Pacey Holloway, Ploy Techawatanasuk, Plum Hector-Taylor, Poppy Wallhead, Rain Wang, Reda Ziani, Rian Paton, Rowan Jessop, Sam Carrick, Samyukta Iyer, Sandra Chen, Santiago McDonnell Grundy, Sarah Nachimson, Sarah Nazir, Sarah Yang, Shaw Worth, Sinéad O’Reilly, Sophie Thynne, Sophie White, Thariny Suresh, William An, Xinyue Jenny Jiang and Zannamarie Ashton.

You can read the top 15 winning poems in 2019 in the sidebar on this page. You can also read the last year’s top 15 winning poems in our 2018 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 poetry competition for 11-17 year olds in the world.

The competition is currently closed, and will re-launch in March 2020. If you have any queries email us at [email protected] or call us on 020 7420 9880. If you’d like to know when next year’s competition opens for entries, and to stay up-to-date with everything that The Poetry Society offers young writers, sign up to the Young Poets Network mailing list. You can also visit Young Poets Network for year-round poetry competitions, events and advice for young writers.

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 more incredible poets. 

The competition 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 us if you have queries regarding any BSL entries).

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 here.

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]. You can follow our social media pages (we’re on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) for updates.

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