T S Eliot Prize Writing Competition

This year's Writing Competition for sixth form students is now open! Download two poems and a biography of each shortlisted poet here.

For the 2015 T S Eliot Prize, we are running 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. In 2014 the winner was David Harsent for his collection Fire Songs.

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

How to apply

1. Go to www.englishandmedia.co.uk/e-magazine, read the competition instructions and rules and follow the link to download the 20 poems.

2. Choose your poet and decide whether to write a critical piece or a poem as a response.

3. Get your entry in by Friday 11th December 2015.

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