2018 Christopher Tower Poetry Competition – Press Release

Every year, six young people scoop a total of £5000 in prize-money for writing a poem. Our first prize is £3000, second £1500, and third £500, with three runner-up prizes of £250 each. And all this for a poem on a set theme, judged each year by a panel of successful contemporary poets.

The theme this year is ‘Secrets’.

The competition is completely free to enter. It’s open to people aged between 16 and 18, who are in full- or part-time education in the UK. Every single entry is read and judged anonymously.

Our winners come to a presentation event in Oxford, in Christ Church, and the top three each year win places on our Tower Poetry Summer School, held every two years in August, also in Christ Church.

Since 2000, the Tower Competition has been the most lucrative award for young British poets, and has seen many winners go on to writing careers. This year, the entries will be judged by poets Christopher Reid, John Fuller, and Peter McDonald.

To enter the competition, go to www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated.

The closing date for entries is the 2nd of March 2018.

Winners will be announced on the 29th of March 2018.

Christopher Reid

Christopher Reid, FRSL, is a poet, essayist, cartoonist, editor, and writer born in Hong Kong 1949. He has worked as a university lecturer, freelancer, and as a poetry editor at the publishing house Faber and Faber, where he revived a ‘flagging list’ in the 1990’s that saw new talents such as Simon Armitage, Lavinia Greenlaw, and Don Paterson. His early writing is often associated with the ‘Martian School’ of the 1980’s. Reid won an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry in 1978, and has established his success over almost forty years with works such as Arcadia (1979), for which he won the 1989 Somerset Maugham Award and the Hawthornden Prize, Katerina Brac (1985), A Scattering (2009), which won the 2009 Costa Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Forward Poetry and the 2009 T.S. Eliot Prize, Six Bad Poets (2013), and The Curiosities (2015). Christopher Reid lives in London.

John Fuller

John Fuller, FRSL, is a poet, critic, editor, children’s writer, and novelist. He was born in Kent in 1937 and has taught at the State University of New York, where he helped starting The Review, the University of Manchester, and was a Fellow and Tutor at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, where he is now a Fellow Emeritus. He started the Sycamore Press, an independent publisher which published authors such as W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, and Peter Porter, and sought to promote young poets. Fuller won the Newdigate Prize for his poem “A Dialogue between Caliban and Ariel” at 23, and has continued to prove his success with works such as Epistles to Several Persons (1973), for which he won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, The Illusionists (1980), which won the Southern Arts Literature Prize, Stones and Fires (1996), which won the Forward Poetry Prize, and he won the 2006 Micheal Braude Award for Light Verse, and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award for The Space of Joy (2006). John Fuller lives in Oxford.

Professor Peter McDonald

Professor Peter McDonald, FEA, is a poet, critic, and scholar. He was born in Belfast in 1962 and has been Tutor and Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Lecturer and Reader in English at the University of Bristol, and is the first Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford, and holds a lectureship in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford. He has written poetry since his teens, and won the Newdigate Prize in 1983. He published his first collection of poems, Biting the Wax, in 1989, followed by Adam’s Dream (1996), Pastorals (2004), The House of Clay (2007), Torchlight (2011), and his sixth collection, Collected Poems (2012). The Homeric Hymns, a PBS recommended translation, has recently been published by Carcanet as has Herne the Hunter. McDonald has been a prolific writer on modern and contemporary poetry, and his criticism appears regularly in The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review and PN Review, Thumbscrew and Metre.