About the Award

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"Entering the Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition was one of the best things I’ve ever done”

                                        Former Foyle Winner and 2012 Judge, Helen Mort

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is an opportunity for any young poet aged 11-17 to accelerate their writing career. Since it began 15 years ago the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices, including this year’s judge Helen Mort, a successful poet whose next collection is to be published by Chatto & Windus. With entries from over 7,600 young people this year across from 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 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges, and will receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event on National Poetry Day  -which this year falls on the 2nd October 2014. 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. Overall  Winners will have their poems published in the annual Foyle Anthology, 20,000 of which are distributed to poets, teachers, students, libraries, schools and arts organisations right across the UK. Additionally, winners from the 15 to 17 age category attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets. Winners aged 11-14 group benefit from poetry residencies at their school followed by distance mentoring.

These winners are among the most promising young literary talent in the UK, and the ceremony is the first step in an ongoing process of developing this potential; 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.

Read the Foyle Winners 2014 anthology: How to swim and stay in place

 "We eagerly await the publication of the anthology of Foyle winners, as it provides tangible and fascinating proof that it is possible for young writers to be recognised for their work and published in a universally accessible format. This alone helps to inspire our pupils to get writing, not least when their competitive spirit is awakened and they think to themselves, 'I can do that!’”

                                                                                  Ashley Smith, Head of English St. John's College School

In the past few years we’ve showcased Foyle Winners at prestigious events such as the opening of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; Ledbury Poetry Festival; St. Gile's Church, London; the Larmer Tree Festival; National Poetry Day Live! at Southbank Centre, London; StAnza Poetry Festival, St Andrews; and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. With the competition as its focus, the  Award also incorporates a year-round programme of activity aimed at encouraging creativity and literacy in young people, supported by lesson plans and additional poet-led opportunities in schools. The scheme also recognises and nurtures best practice in creative writing teaching, identifying committed ‘teacher trailblazers’ to act as teacher mentors. See our Education Pages for our full programme of work with schools and young people, in particular our SLAMbassadors spoken word championship and our membership opportunities. The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award has been funded by the Foyle Foundation since 2001