Skip to content

** Members get 25% off Books **



In 2017 the Poetry Book Society held a special poetry competition for students: PBS Student Poetry Prize, judged by the Faber poet Sam Buchan Watts. The 3 main prize winners were selected from 100 entries worldwide and received monetary prizes as well as a free annual PBS Charter membership consisting of 20 poetry books and 4 PBS Bulletin magazines. Members can read the winning poems and the judge's full commentary in our Summer 2018 Bulletin, or online on our blog.

The calibre of entries to our competition was outstanding and we have three very worthy winners and highly commended poets. The PBS is committed to the promotion of emerging poets and hope to one day see one of these winners and their first collection or pamphlet being reviewed within the PBS Bulletin!
- Sophie O'Neill, PBS Director

The 2017 Student Poetry Prize Winners were:






I am obviously delighted to be one of the winners... I really appreciate the PBS’s mission to champion contemporary poetry, having been a keen follower of the TS Eliot Prize and the New Generation series. I think that the Student Poetry Prize is especially rewarding because it works to help young poets early on in their careers. As a student it is exciting to see this level of support offered. I find poetry often thrives within student communities, and I think this prize does well to recognise the importance of engaging and inspiring young writers across the country.  - Jay G Ying, 1st Prize winning poet.

JAY G YING currently studies medicine at the University of Edinburgh. His prose-poetry has appeared in The Adroit Journal, where he now works as a prose reader, and selected for Umbrellas of Edinburgh: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Scotland’s Capital City in 2016. He has previously lived in Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the US.

ALYCIA PIRMOHAMED is a Canadian-born poet living in Scotland. She is a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh, where she is studying poetry by second-generation immigrant writers. Her own writing is an exploration of what it means to be the daughter of immigrants, and grapples with language loss, cultural identity, and displacement. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, and was selected for the 2018 Best New British and Irish Poets anthology. Alycia received an MFA from the University of Oregon.

ILA COLLEY is an undergraduate student of Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. Recently her poetry has been published in Butcher’s Dog and hotdog. Not so recently she was a two-time winner of the Foyle Young Poets award. That had nothing to do with dogs. She is also a Writing Squad graduate. Her first poems were folk songs and everything was painfully elegant. Now she is fascinated by the plot holes and misunderstandings of daily life and applies herself to this heritage.

WENDY MIN JI CHOI is from Seoul, South Korea, studying Comparative Literature at University College London and working as a part-time translator while aspiring to become a poet. She has been previously shortlisted for the 2017 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. But she spends more time performing in poetry slams and open mics around London these days.

MARIAH WHELAN is a writer and PhD student from Oxford. Her writing has appeared in journals and anthologies,including Eyewear’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2018, been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, The Melita Hume Prize and won the AM Heath Prize. She also directs Oxford Writers’ House, a literary hub in Oxford connecting the city's communities through creative writing.

OLIVER TONG grew up in Cardiff, Wales and currently lives in Aberdeen, Scotland where he’s both studying for his MLitt in creative writing, and standing around vacantly with wading birds. He once co-managed a small tea warehouse. Blue Jam is a pivotal influence on everything that he does. He'll be appearing in Ambit magazine's upcoming April issue. He writes as O. J. Tong.




Following is archival material about the event, which you can use as a reference for future competitions. We intend to bring back the Student Poetry Prize in 2019.

Calling all students! We’re delighted to announce our Student Poetry Prize will be opening on the 31st October.

The Poetry Book Society was founded by T S Eliot in 1953 to 'propagate the art of poetry' and has an illustrious history of discovering the best new contemporary poets. In our new Student Poetry Prize we're looking for talented student writers and emerging new voices who will go on to be the next generation of Poetry Book Society selections. 

Entry is free to PBS members. Non-members must pay a £10 entry fee.

The Competition will be judged by the poet Sam Buchan-Watts.

Sam Buchan-Watts is co-editor of the poetry press Clinic. His pamphlet was published in 2016 in the Faber New Poets series, and he won an Eric Gregory Award the same year. He is also the Reviews Editor for Poetry London.

The winners will be notified on the 2nd March and officially announced on the 6th March.

The following prizes are available: 1st Prize £100  | 2nd Prize £50 | 3rd Prize £25

An additional 3 highly commended poems will receive PBS Associate membership.

All the winners will have their poems published on the PBS website and the 1st prize winner will also feature in the PBS Bulletin.

Don't forget entry is free for PBS Members so check out our student membership option here.

Click here to enter the free PBS Member category or here for the Non-Member paid category.

If you have any further questions, please email

How to enter:

Please read the rules carefully before entering.

1.        The competition is open all current students aged over 18.

2.        The closing date of the Competition is 13th December midnight (UK time)

3.        One poem per entrant.

4.        Entries can be made via Submittable.  

5.        Please include your name, email address, date of birth (optional), place of study and upload a copy of your NUS card or equivalent Student ID card.

6.        The judge’s decision is final.

7.        All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the Word document containing the poem itself.

8.        All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title). Entries can be on any subject.

9.        Poems must be the original work of the entrant.

10.     Entries must not have been published by a publisher or magazine, either online or in print.

11.     Entries must be written in English.

12.     Prizewinners will be notified by 2nd March.

13.     All winners will be asked to provide a short biography and photograph for our website.

14.     The copyright of each poem remains with the author.

 15.     However, authors of the winning poems, by entering the competition, grant the PBS the right to publish the poem on their website and potentially in the bulletin.

16. Students who have already published a full collection are sadly not eligible to enter. 

Simply click on the link below to enter after the 31st October.submit

Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now