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“This celebration of poetry spreads the message that poetry is something for everyone, whatever your background, and especially for young people.”
Linnet Drury, Top 15 Foyle Young Poet, 2020

We are so excited that our two judges for this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award are the wonderful Clare Pollard and Yomi Ṣode. They cannot wait to read your poems. To hear more from this year’s judges, please go to our Foyle judges page, where they share what they are looking for in this year’s entries. 

Photograph of Justine Stoddart and Yomi Ṣode

(Left, Clare Pollard, photo credit: Justine Stoddart. Right, Yomi Ṣode, photo credit:Jolade Olusanya). 

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 15 top Winners) are chosen by two high profile poets, and 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 Arvon writing 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 You Speak in Constellations, alongside the fantastic 85 commended poems, which were selected last year by poets Keith Jarrett and Maura Dooley. 

These winners are among the most promising young literary talent in the UK; 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 Prizes and the T.S. Eliot Prize. We support them to establish themselves in the literary and publishing world through a number of initiatives, such as Internships, editorial opportunities and showcasing events.