About Tower Poetry

Tower Poetry was founded in 2000 when a generous bequest was made by the late Christopher Tower to stimulate an enjoyment and critical appreciation of poetry, particularly among young people in education, and to challenge people to write their own poetry.

Tower Poetry runs a prestigious annual competition for 16-18 year olds in the UK on a set theme, and biennial residential summer schools for 18-23 year olds. The poetry competition is the most generous of its kind for young people in the UK, and is free to enter; Tower Poetry also covers the tuition and accommodation costs for the summer schools.

Painting of Christopher TowerAbout Christopher Tower

Christopher Thomas Tower (1915-1998) was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, reading history from 1934-1937.  At Eton he won numerous school prizes for poetry, English literature and allied subjects, and was a founder and first secretary of the Eton College Archaeological Society. These interests took him to the Middle East where he studied Arabic and Persian. After holding a number of official appointments in that area, he settled in Athens to devote more time to his writing in retirement; he wrote nine illustrated books of poetry in his lifetime, mainly of Persian and Arab legends.

Christopher Tower left a legacy of £5m to be used by Christ Church to endow two teaching posts: a Poetry Studentship and a Tutorial Fellowship, with an associated University Lecturership plus a Junior Research Fellowship in Greek mythology. His benefaction also funds the Christopher Tower Poetry Prize. 

Photograph of Professor Peter McDonaldThe Christopher Tower Student

The current Christopher Tower Student is poet and academic Professor Peter McDonald, who became the first holder of the Christopher Tower studentship in 1999. He has been writing poetry since his teens, and was himself a winner of national young poet competitions. As an undergraduate he published poems in the national literary press and won Oxford’s Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1983. He currently holds a Tutorship in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford and a lectureship in the English Faculty of the University of Oxford.


Megan Chester, Tower Poetry AdministratorThe Tower Poetry Administrator

The Tower Poetry Administrator, Megan Chester, manages the annual Tower Poetry competition and biennial Summer School under the direction of the Tower Poetry Student.

tel: +44 7849625906 e-mail: tower.poetry@chch.ox.ac.uk

Days of work: Monday and Thursday, 10:00-13:00



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