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The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition 2016 for students aged 16-18. #Poetry Entry deadline 19 February 2016



poetry competiton

The 16th Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, has opened for entries, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘Wonder’.

Established in 2000, the Tower Prizes are recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for this age group. The first prize is £3,000, with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize-winners. In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges also receive cash prizes of £150 and the three prizewinners are eligible for a place on the Tower Poetry Summer School. Three or four commended entries will receive £250 each. The names and schools of those longlisted will also be published on the newly redesigned Tower Poetry website. Entry forms are downloadable from the website and, for the first time, entry can be made online (or by post).

The competition is open to all 16-18 year-olds who are in full or part time education in the UK and you can find out more here

The closing date for entries is Friday 19 February, 2016. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 20 April 2016.

Alan Gillis was born in Belfast, and teaches English at Edinburgh University. His latest poetry collection, Scapegoat, was published by The Gallery Press in 2014. Hawks and Doves (2007), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

He co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry, published in 2012, and was one of the 20 poets selected to represent the Next Generation of UK poets in 2014.

Katherine Rundell grew up in Africa and Europe and in 2008 she was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her second children’s novel Rooftoppers, won the Waterstones children’s book prize and several others. She is an associate editor of the journal Archipelago and has previously been one of the judges of the first Clutag-Archipelago Poetry Prize in 2012.
Peter McDonald is the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford.  His publications include Louis MacNeice: The Poet in his Contexts (1991), Mistaken Identities: Poetry and Northern Ireland (1997), Pastorals (2004) and The House of Clay (2007). Torchlight was published in 2011 and his Collected Poems in 2012, both by Carcanet.

The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes were launched following a bequest to Christ Church which provides for the promotion of the art of writing poetry in English. The prizes aim to encourage the writing of poetry amongst young people in the 16-18 age group by establishing an annual set of prizes for the best poems on a set theme.

  • The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes 2015, on the theme of ‘Cells’ attracted 727 entries from young poets across the country. There were six shortlisted poets who attended a prize-giving ceremony at Christ Church in April 2015, where 16 year-old Isla Anderson of Woldingham School, Surrey was named as the overall winner with her poem The Forensics of Salt-Licking. The winner of the second prize was Max Thomas (Hampton School, Middlesex), with Fusion and the third prizewinner was Lewis Harrington (also longlisted in 2014) from Wilson’s School, Wallington, Surrey with his poem Firewood.
  • The other short-listed winners were: Jeremiah Ovenden (Torquay Academy, Devon) with The Building Blocks of Life, Matt Ward (The Gryphon School, Sherborne, Dorset), with Purblind, and Andrew Wells (Howard of Effingham School, Surrey) with Closed Door.
  • Videos and audios of all last year’s winners are on the Tower Poetry website, YouTube and iTunesU as well as 27 longlisted poets from 2015 –
  • All posters are printed on recycled, FSC certified paper, using vegetable oil-based inks, power from 100% renewable resources and waterless printing technology.  The process generates zero waste to landfill.

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