Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019

“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 the 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, Your Voice Crosses the Ocean, saw the top 15 poems published in print, with an online version below. An online version of the commended poems is also available below.

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.