Press Release: 4 March 2008

Poets Ian McMillan and Sophie Hannah are calling all young poets to send them their poems as the search for the Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2008 begins!

The Poetry Society and The Foyle Foundation are delighted to announce the launch of the eleventh Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. This prestigious prize is open to anyone between the ages of 11 and 17 and consistently recognises and rewards some of the brightest future stars of the poetry world. The judges for this year are award-winning poets Ian McMillan and Sophie Hannah.
As Ian McMillan says: “In years to come there’ll be PhDs done on the influence of the Foyle Young Poets Awards on the 21st century poetry renaissance, and I’m proud and excited to be associated with an award that helps to seek out, reward and encourage the poets of tomorrow!”
Previous winners include some of the best young poets in writing today, such as Caroline Bird, Jay Bernard, Helen Mort and Richard O’Brien. Amongst last year’s winners was Amy Blakemore, a 16-year old from London, with a highly visual trip down ‘Peckham Rye Lane’:
I take the bus – through Peckham.
Knickers lie flaccid
in Primark.
Like salted jellyfish – tentacle pink,
grandmother mauve
briny in £2 packs of rainbow.
                                                ‘Peckham Rye Lane’ by Amy Blakemore

There was also an account of the "fearless" and bold knight Sir Tony Blair who initially “Put all the wrongs o’ England right” before conceding power “To that brave knight, Sir Gordon Brown”, as told with true Spenserian wit by Sarah Williams in her poem ‘The Tale of a Chivalrous and Gallant Knight’. You can read all the winning poems from Foyle Young Poets 2007 at:
Prizes include – for 15-17 year-olds – the chance to attend a week-long residential course at The Hurst in Shropshire, one of the prestigious Arvon Centres, where they will be tutored by the judges of the competition.

Five winners in the 11-14 range can win a 3-day poetry residency for their school from one of the Poetry Society’s excellent team of poets working in schools. We also have numerous book prizes for schools and the 100 best young poets, supplied by top poetry publishers Faber & Faber, Bloodaxe Books and Salt Publishing. The prize attracts entries from all over the world.

All winners will be invited to attend a major awards ceremony in London on National Poetry Day (Thursday 9 October 2008). The winning poems will be published in a specially printed anthology which will be distributed nationally.

The award is made possible by The Foyle Foundation, which distributes grants to charitable organisations in the areas of Learning, Arts and Health. The award is administered by the Poetry Society ( More information about the award may be found at

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Notes to editors:

  • For a copy of the entry form, write to Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX, email [email protected], or visit
  • To receive a free copy of the 2007 winners’ anthology The Wouldbegoods send an A5 stamped self-addressed envelope to Education, Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX or email [email protected]
  • The Foyle Young Poets Award meets two of the Foyle Foundation’s core criteria for support in Arts and Learning and in particular encourages creativity and literacy among young people at school. These are key success factors for young people to go through life. The Foundation is very keen to work with the Poetry Society to build on what has been achieved so far and to encourage more schools and young poets to become involved with the scheme nationwide.
  • The connection between Foyle and support for poets is long-standing. In 1949 William Foyle established the Foyle Prize for Poetry, awarding an annual prize of £250 – the largest prize then offered exclusively to poets. The first judges included Cecil Day Lewis and the first winner was Edwin Muir for ‘The Labyrinth’. At the award ceremony William Foyle said, ‘For a long time I have always felt that a person who writes poetry should have far more encouragement ... it has always been my life’s ambition to award such a prize.’
  • To find out more about the Poetry Society telephone 020 7420 9880 or visit
  • For more information about the Award please visit the website at: And you can also find us on Facebook via the Foyle Young Poets group.





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