Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights,
before the dark hour of reason grows.
John Betjeman, Summoned by Bells
© Bryan Anderson
Established by the family of the former Poet Laureate, the John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People seeks to foster a love of poetry in young people. It is our aim to support literacy and creativity, encouraging children aged 10-13 to explore the world they see around them through rhythm and language.
Each child is invited to send in (by post or online) one poem on the theme of ‘place’. You can choose anywhere that is important to you – from your bedroom to somewhere you visited on holiday, from your favourite park to your favourite building. The subject of your poem could be a city or a garden or a beach or a street. We are asking you to capture in words what that place means to you.
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 October 3rd, on the concourse of St Pancras station, next to the bronze statue of John Betjeman by Martin Jennings.
The first prize of £1,000 is shared between the winning entrant and his or her school. The winner, runner-up, and second runner-up will each win four standard class tickets from St Pancras International to Paris, Brussels or Lille donated by Eurostar. Five finalists will receive £50 of book tokens to spend at Tales on Moon Lane Bookshop. One lucky entrant will win a signed copy of Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill.
Six one-day poetry workshops will be awarded to schools entering the competition. All schools wishing to receive a poet visit should apply in writing via the website stating their reasons for the application. The trustees will consider all applications that fit the criteria and the schools selected to receive workshops will be notified in September.
The competition is open for entries until 31st July.