Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, Open to Students aged 16 – 18 years, Closing Date for Entries 17 February, 2017

christopher tower poetry competition

christopher tower poetry competition

All UK students, between 16-18, are encouraged to enter the 2017 Christopher Tower poetry competition. This year’s theme is ‘STONE’ and the judges are Sarah Howe and Vahni Capildeo. First prize £3,000; second prize £1,000 and third prize £500. Closing date 17/2/17.

The 17th 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 ‘Stone’. 

‘In the 16 years of Tower Poetry’s competitions we’ve received almost 11,000 entries from almost 2,250 schools. Students from Bishop Challoner Catholic College (who have been longlisted) have entered most often, followed by the Sixth Form College, Colchester (with a winner in 2008) and thirdly Putney High School (with a winner in 2001). Over 200 different schools have been longlisted – some more than once.’

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 Tower Poetry website. Entry forms are downloadable from the website and entry can be made online (or by post).


The entries will be judged this year by poets Sarah Howe and Vahni Capildeo.


Sarah Howe photo by Hayley Madden

Sarah Howe is a Hong Kong-born British poet, academic and editor. Her first collection of poems is Loop of Jade  (Chatto & Windus, 2015).

Sarah Howe has, in her terms, “crossed the imaginary line” between the personal and the political, between the Occident and the Orient . . . between the real state of arrival and the dream state of pursuit.

vahni capildeo

Vahni Capildeo is a British Trinidadian writer. Her published books are No Traveller Returns (2003), Person Animal Figure (2005), Undraining Sea (2009) (shortlisted for the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award), All Your Houses (2010) (a limited-edition artist’s book with photometry by Andre Bagoo), Dark & Unaccustomed Words (2012) (longlisted for the 2013 OCM Bocas Poetry Prize), Utter (2013), Simple Complex Shapes (2015), and Measures of Expatriation (2016) – winner of Forward Best Collection Prize.

Vahni Capildo

The 2017 competition will build on the success of earlier competitions.  Many of our growing ‘alumni’ of 100 winners (2001-2016) and almost 800 longlisted, as well as 68 Summer School students, are 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, or email or call 01865 286591.

Follow on Tower Poetry on Facebook  or @TowerPoetry on Twitter or YouTube at . The closing date for entries is Friday 17 February, 2017. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 19 April 2

Four Men In Search Of A Plot, Waterstones Sauchiehall Street, 4 November, 2016.
Thoroughly Modern Millie, 6 – 11 February, 2017, King's Theatre

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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