Launch of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021

The 23rd Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, one of the largest and most prestigious awards for young poets aged 11-17 writing original works in English, opens today for entries from young writers aged 11-17.

Run by The Poetry Society, with the generous support of the Foyle Foundation, the competition invites entries from both individual poets and schools anywhere in the world.  All entries are free and poems can be on any theme, and of any length. The deadline is 31 July 2021.

This year’s judges are poets Clare Pollard and Yomi Ṣode, who will read the poems submitted and discover the next generation of brilliant poets. To support entrants, they have recorded a video to detail what they’ll be looking for during the judging process alongside judges’ blogs here and here.

A total of 6,791 young writers entered 15,966 poems into the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2020. Former winners regularly go on to publish full poetry collections and are often recognised in significant poetry competitions for adults.

Andrew Pettigrew, a winner in 2017, said:

“I never actually thought I would be one of the winners and was absolutely shocked to hear that I had won. After winning I started considering myself to be a poet. Don’t let doubt or fear hold you back from entering, or think that what you like writing isn’t poetic. My winning poem, ‘Heaven in a Poke’, was about a guy who got his fish supper stolen by a seagull.”

Similarly, Nadia Lines, who won the award in 2019, said:

“Enter Foyle as it will change your life in so many amazing ways. I didn’t win immediately and entered a couple of times. Seeing the winning entries each year blew me away and inspired me to keep writing. Winning the prize gave me so much confidence and drive to continue on writing. The best thing about Foyle has been the chance of meeting young poets of the same age and having a group of friends that all love poetry as much as I do.”

The Top 15 Foyle winners are also invited to attend a week’s residential creative writing course at a prestigious Arvon centre or receive alternative mentoring, such as a poet residency in their school. All 100 winners will receive a year’s Youth Membership of The Poetry Society, a range of books and other prizes. The winners will also benefit from ongoing support and encouragement from The Poetry Society, via publication, performance, promotion and access to a paid internship programme.

Schools also benefit from participating in the award. Every year, The Poetry Society selects a number of Applauded Schools, who have shown a continuing commitment to the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, to receive free poet-led workshops and teacher training. In addition to this, every school that enters 25 or more students’ poems to the competition can book a poet to visit the school through The Poetry Society’s Poets in Schools service at a discounted rate. The Poetry Society also recognises a small group of ‘Teacher Trailblazers’ who have shown outstanding innovation and passion in inspiring young people to write. The Teacher Trailblazers are commissioned to produce teaching resources and writing tips to share with other schools.

Through the competition’s submission window The Poetry Society will be publishing new resources for young writers and resources for teachers, as well as advice about entering the competition. You can also sign up to our Young Poets Network mailing list or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

This year’s winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony in October 2021. The top 15 winning poets will have their poems published in an anthology in March 2022. Today also marks the publication of the current year’s anthology, entitled You Speak in Constellations. It features winning poems from the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020.

Enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

Read the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020 anthology

4 March 2021