Last call for Foyle Young Poets Award entries

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“For me poetry isn’t about ‘understanding’ it’s about experiencing, like a dream, or a movie played on the inside of your eyelids.” – Caroline Bird (pictured), Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Winner 1999 and 2000, and Foyle 2018 Judge

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018, the most prestigious prize in the world for writers aged 11-17 years old, is open for entries only for another two weeks until the closing date of July 31st. Organised by The Poetry Society, generously supported by the Foyle Foundation, and now celebrating its 20th anniversary year, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is one of the largest literary competitions in the world. In 2017, the competition attracted over 11,000 poems from more than 6,000 young poets from 72 countries, from as far afield as Azerbaijan, Brazil, Japan, Syria and Zimbabwe. Judging this year's entries will be the acclaimed poet Caroline Bird (a Foyle winner in 1999 and 2000) and the brilliant Daljit Nagra, who is Radio 4's Poet in Residence and a former Foyle judge in 2008.

Launching the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018, Caroline described what she will look for in the writing: “A poem that feels alive on the page... rich with imagery and playfulness, highly alert to language. I want to feel that the poet has surprised themselves, stumbled upon something they didn’t know they knew. “Remember nothing is off limits. Don’t be well behaved... And you don’t have to write like the judges, write like yourself.” Daljit is on the hunt for a good poem: “What I will look for in a good poem is control and consistency. A good poem should stay consistently conventional or weird, it should look like it’s on a journey of discovery whether it be in free verse, prose fragment or whatever form or shape or sets of images, the poet should seek to conjure. All I’m looking for is a poet having a good time, whether it be about a serious subject such as environment issues or a silly one such as a chocolate wrapper”

Any young person aged 11-17 years old writing in English can enter the competition, whether they have been writing for a long time or have just started putting pen to paper. If an entrant is aged 11-12 then a parent or guardian will need to give permission for them to enter. The permission form can be sent via online or by post.

What are you waiting for?  The competition is completely free to enter.  For further information and competition rules check the website or email

Photo: Hannah Edy

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