The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, opened for entries on National Poetry Day, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘Cells’.
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. Longlisted entrants’ poems are published on the Tower Poetry website.
The entries will be judged this year by poets Ian McMillan, Helen Mort and Peter McDonald. The 2015 competition will build on the success of earlier competitions. Previous prizewinners such as Caroline Bird, Richard O’Brien, Charlotte Runcie, Anna Lewis, and Annie Katchinska are now gaining further acclaim in other competitions or within the publishing/ writing world.
The competition is open to all 16-18 year-olds who are in full or part time education in the UK, and students and schools can find out more information about the prizes and associated future events at www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize, or email
or call 01865 286591. Follow us on Facebook or @TowerPoetry on Twitter or YouTube. The closing date for entries is Friday 27 February, 2015. The winners will be announced on Monday 20 April 2015.
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 2014, on the theme of ‘News’ attracted 630 entries from young poets across the country. There were seven shortlisted poets who attended a prize-giving ceremony at Christ Church in April 2014, where 18 year-old Dominic Hand of Magdalen College School, Oxford was named as the overall winner with his poem 'Annunciation' (Dominic was longlisted in the 2013 competition). The winner of the second prize was Sam Buckton (Rudolf Steiner School, Hertfordshire), with 'Hell-of-an Island' and the third prizewinner was Masha Voyles from Charterhouse, Surrey with her poem 'Bat Child Found!'
• The other short-listed winners were: Alexander Shaw (Kings Priory School, Tyne and Wear) with 'How to Prepare for Bad News', Charlie Holmes (George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh), with 'Voyager', Jessica Matthews (Coleg Gwent Crosskeys Campus, Caerphilly) with' Current Affairs and Phoebe Stuckes (West Somerset College), who was also longlisted in 2013, with 'Sciamachy'.
• Videos and audios of all last year’s winners are on the Tower Poetry website, YouTube and iTunesU as well as 40 longlisted poets from 2014.