The John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People is open to children aged 10 to 13 years. They say: “Our aim is to encourage children to look at their surroundings more keenly as well as to be inspired by reading and writing poetry.”
Each child is invited to send in (by post or online) a poem on the sense of ‘place’. They can choose anywhere that is important to them – from their bedroom to a larger landscape, from their local park to their favourite building. The subject of their poem could be a city or a garden or a beach or a street – whatever moves them to write. We are asking them to capture in words what that place means to them
The first prize is a £1000 (£500 to the winner and £500 to the English department of their school) as well as four Eurostar tickets. £50 book tokens are awarded to commended entrants. Junior/primary schools entering a whole class will receive a copy of The Puffin Book of Modern Children’s Verse on receipt of entries and secondary/senior schools, The Rattle Bag. We organise eight poet visits a year to schools entering the competition.
Winners of the poetry competition are invited to read their poems aloud to an audience of judges, entrants, teachers and parents as well as sponsors and press, at a prize giving held on National Poetry Day, Thursday 2nd October, on the concourse of St Pancras station, next to the bronze statue of John Betjeman by Martin Jennings.
The judges are the National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, and the founder of Gifford Circus, Nell Gifford.
The competition is free to enter and closes on 31st July. Please see website www.betjemanpoetrycompetition.com for details and an online entry form.