About

“Foyle fuelled me. It took me from being a secretive-behind-my-bedroom-door scribbler to being an out and open poet. Winning Foyle totally changed my life.”
– Caroline Bird, top 15 winner at age 13 and 14 in 1999 and 2000 and Foyle judge in 2018.

We are so excited that our two judges for this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award are the amazing Jackie Kay and Raymond Antrobus! They cannot wait to read your poems. To find out more from this year’s judges please go to our new Foyle judges page, where they will tell you what they are looking for in this year’s entries. 

(Left, Jackie Kay, photo credit: Matthew Kay. Right, Raymond Antrobus, photo credit: Tenee Attoh). 

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is an opportunity for any young poet aged 11-17 to accelerate their writing career. Since it was founded in 1998 the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices, such as Sarah Howe, Jay Bernard, Helen Mort, Richard Osmond, Caroline Bird and Phoebe Stuckes. With entries from nearly 6,000 young people last year from across the UK and worldwide, it is the largest competition of its kind and its importance is widely attested.

Each year 100 winners (85 commendations and 15 overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges, and will receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event in October. Thanks to funding from the Foyle Foundation the competition remains completely free to enter and we are able to offer a wide range of prizes, opportunities and resources. Winners receive amazing prizes including membership of The Poetry Society and a stack of poetry goodies. Winners also attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course, where they develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets, or benefit from poetry residencies at their school or distance-mentoring depending on their age and location.

Arvon Residential at The Hurst for 2018 Foyle winners, photo credit Helen Bowell for The Poetry Society.

You can read last year’s top 15 winning poems in our anthology, The Walls Were Not Big Enough to Hold You, alongside the fantastic 85 commended poems, which are also available online and were judged by our incredible judges last year Caroline Bird and Daljit Nagra. 

Judges Caroline Bird and Daljit Nagra announce the 2018 winners at the Southbank Centre. Photo credit Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society.

These winners are among the most promising young literary talent in the UK, and the ceremony is the first step in an ongoing process of developing this potential; many of our former winners have gone on to publish work with major publishing houses such as Faber & Faber, Carcanet and Chatto & Windus and won prestigious competitions including the Ted Hughes Award, Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize. We support them through a number of initiatives helping them to establish themselves in the literary and publishing world, such as Internships, editorial opportunities and showcasing events.