T S Eliot Prize Writing Competition

This year's Writing Competition for sixth form students is now closed! You can still download two poems and a biography of each shortlisted poet here. We're now beginning the process of reading all your poems and essays.

The winning entries for the 2015 Writing Competition have been announced by our friends at the English and Media Centre - congratulations to Michael McCabe of Oriel High School, Crawley and Alice West of Surbiton High School!

You can read their work here and more information is on the English and Media Centre website.

For the 2015 T S Eliot Prize, we ran the new and improved T S Eliot Prize Writing Competition!

Every year the Poetry Book Society awards the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, ‘the world's top poetry award' (The Independent). Ten collections of poetry, written that year, are shortlisted.

PBS and emagazine invite students to step into the judges' and poets' shoes by writing a critical piece or a poem of their own in response to the work on the shortlist.

A chance for students to:

  • Win £100, meet poets and be published
  • Boost their CV or university statement
  • Read the very best contemporary poetry
  • Develop critical skills and confidence in reading poetry for pleasure

Taking part is simple!

Read the 20 poems we've selected, 2 by each of the shortlisted poets for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. Pick your favourite poet. Then get writing!

For the first time, this year, there are two choices of response:


A 500 word critical piece on the 2 poems by your chosen poet, reflecting on what you particularly liked about them and why you think they should win.


A poem of your own, ‘writing back' to one of the poems you found particularly interesting. Your poem might take the same title, or use aspects of the form of the poem, or explore the same subject matter, or argue back with a view or angle that challenges or subverts ideas in the original.

What is the prize?

There are 2 prizes, one in each category - subject to the standard in both categories being sufficiently high.

Each prize includes:

  • £100 cash prize
  • 3 tickets to the T S Eliot Prize and the Award Ceremony, where the winners will meet the poets and judges
  • publication in emagazine and on the Poetry Book Society website
  • a full set of all 10 shortlisted collections
  • Education membership of the PBS for the school or college of the winning students

To read more about what the scheme means to students and teachers, click here.

Download the poems

Read last year's winning rationale

T S Eliot Prize 2015

More about the Prize