“I never thought my poetry was particularly special, or meant something to anyone except me, but becoming a Foyle Young Poet showed me that my voice is worthy of being listened to, as are the voices of everyone else who enters it.”
Dana Collins, Top 15 Foyle Young Poet, 2019

We are so excited that our two judges for this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award are the amazing Maura Dooley and Keith Jarrett! They cannot wait to read your poems. To find out more from this year’s judges please check out their blogs on the Poetry Society website, where they will tell you what they are looking for in this year’s entries.

(Left, Keith Jarrett, photo credit: Photo credit Ajamu. Right, Maura Dooley, photo credit: David Hunter). 

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is an opportunity for any young person 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, Phoebe Stuckes and many more poets from across the world.. With entries from over 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 top 15 Winners) are chosen by two high profile poets, 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 2019 Foyle winners, photo credit Dan Haworth for The Poetry Society.

You can read last year’s top 15 winning poems in our anthology Your Voice Crosses the Ocean alongside the fantastic 85 commended poems, which are also available online and were judged by our incredible judges last year Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay. 

Judges Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay announce the 2019 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.