Call to budding Young Poets – Foyle Young Poets of the Year award now open for entries

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year award, one of the most prestigious international poetry competitions for young poets aged 11-17 years is now open for entries.

Any young person writing in English can enter the competition. Entry is free and the poems can be of any length and on any theme. The deadline for entries is 31 July 2012.

Over 7,200 young people submitted entries last year from the UK and worldwide. The award is recognised as a career-changing competition of cultural significance nationally and internationally, with previous winners coming from New Zealand, Malaysia and the U.S.A. it is supported by the UK-based Poetry Society and the Foyle Foundation.

Each year 100 winners (85 Commendations and 15 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges, and receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event on National Poetry Day in the UK. Several of the past winners have gone on to become published and prize-winning poets, including Caroline BirdSarah Howe and Caleb Klaces.

Winners from the 15 to 17 age category attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they are helped to develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets. Winners aged 11-14 group benefit from poetry residencies at their school followed by distance mentoring. The top 15 poets are published in an anthology which is distributed to over 20,000 people worldwide in March annually.

The award also incorporates a year-round programme of activity aimed at nurturing creativity and literacy in young people, supported by teaching resources and additional poet-led opportunities in schools. It also promotes and nurtures best practice in creative-writing teaching, identifying committed ‘teacher trailblazers’ to act as teacher mentors..

“Many of our former winners have gone on to publish work with major publishing houses such as Faber & Faber and Carcanet, and we support them through a number of initiatives helping them to establish themselves in the literary and publishing world,” say the organizers.

This year’s judges are British poet Helen Mort and Christopher Reid. Helen Mort is a previous winner of the Foyle Young Poets Competition. Her first full collection, Division Street will be published by Chatto & Windus in 2013. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and from 2010-11, she was Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust.

Christopher Reid is a Hong Kong-born British poet, essayist, cartoonist, and writer. He has been nominated twice for the Whitbread Awards in 1996 and in 1997. He has worked as poetry editor at Faber & Faber and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull.

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