Previous Competitions

Since 2000, the Christopher Tower Poetry competition has drawn attention to the huge potential of young adults in UK schools and rewarded their creative talent. In the past 20 years, over 14,000 poems have been submitted to the annual competitions, attracting entrants from nearly 2500 schools.

In that time, Tower Poetry has disbursed over £100,000 in prize money, benefitting over 120 prizewinners and nearly 100 schools and colleges from every region of the UK. With a top prize of £3000, and over £6000 awarded in total each year to prizewinners and their schools, the competition is the most generous of its kind.

Further details of previous themes, judges, and winners can be found below:

Previous Competitions

2021 - TBC, judged by Kwame Dawes and ? (Second Guest Judge to be revealed)

First Judge revealed - Kwame Dawes

KWAME DAWES is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, Nebraska, was published in 2020. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  His awards include an Emmy, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. In 2021, Kwame Dawes was named editor of American Life in Poetry.

2020 - 'Trees', judged by A.E. Stallings and Rebecca Watts

First Prize: Nadia Lines from The Broxbourne School, Hertfordshire, with the poem Woodland For Sale.

Second Prize: Fiyinfoluwa Timothy Oladipo from Varndean College, East Sussex, with the poem Sonnet to Palm Sunday.

Third Prize: Ahana Banerji from Putney High School, London, with the poem The Banyan Tree.

Commended: Joyce Chen from Westminster School, London, with the poem Eating.

Commended: Sabrina Coghlan-Jasiewicz from Newstead Wood School for Girls, Kent, with the poem Burial Rites.

Commended: Zara Meadows from Belfast Royal Academy, Northern Ireland, with the poem Treehugger, Summer 2005.

Commended: Toby Morrison from Oakham School, Rutland, with the poem A Tree.

2019 - 'Underwater', judged by Angela Leighton and Vidyan Ravinthiran

First Prize: Lucy Prescott from Lakes School, Cumbria, with the poem ‘In a Room with Just Bedding’.

Second Prize: Lucy Thynne from Lady Margaret School, London, with the poem ‘Learning to swim’.

Third Prize: Joseph Harrison from London Oratory School, with the poem ‘Thalassa’.

Commended: Isobel Falk from Tiffin Girls’ School, London, with the poem ‘Sleeping Swimmer’.

Commended: Anjali Mulcock from Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, Hertfordshire, with the poem ‘the lost sailor’s ecstatic drowning’.

Commended: Flora Rugman from Latymer Upper School, London, with the poem ‘on agnes swimming’.

2018 - 'Secrets', judged by John Fuller and Christopher Reid

First Prize: Taraneh Peryie from Bristol Grammar School, with the poem 'Richard'.

Second Prize: Lucy Thynne from Lady Margaret School, London, with the poem 'untold secret to my mother'.

Third Prize: Robbi Sher from Highgate School, London, with the poem 'A Secret No Longer'.

Commended: Annie Fan from Rugby School, Warwickshire, with the poem 'How to Invert a Hyperbolic Function'.

Commended: Miranda Green from Wells Cathedral School, Somerset , with the poem 'Corner Table in Tom's Cafe'.

Commended: Ziqi Yan from Westminster School, London , with the poem 'The Mermaid'.

2017 - 'Stone', judged by Vahni Capildeo and Sarah Howe

First Prize: Ella Standage from Alleyn's School, London, with the poem 'rosetta'.

Second Prize: Annie Fan from Rugby School, Warwickshire, with the poem 'Qianling Stele'.

Third Prize: Rachel Oyawale from Woldingham High School, Surrey, with the poem 'If I Gave You A Stone'.

Commended: Sofia Al-Hussaini from Bristol Grammar Scholl, with the poem 'The Millstone'.

Commended: Flora Barber from Malvern St James, Worcestershire, with the poem 'Snowdrops'.

Commended: Freya Gray Stone from Maynard School, Devon, with the poem 'I am a river'.

2016 - 'Wonder', judged by Alan Gillis and Katherine Rundell

First Prize: Ashani Lewis from The Tiffin Girls' School, London, with the poem 'Flowers From The Dark'.

Second Prize: Safah Ahmed from Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre, London, with the poem 'Accent'.

Third Prize: Sophia West from Oxford High School, with the poem 'The Awakening'.

Commended: Natasha Blinder from South Hampstead High School, London, with the poem 'Nine Days'.

Commended: Grace Fraser from Oundle School, Cambridgeshire, with the poem 'UFO Beach Abduction'.

Commended: Ed Pryor from Hartismere High School, Suffolk, with the poem 'Driving Lesson'.

2015 - 'Cells', judged by Ian McMillan and Helen Mort

First Prize: Isla Anderson from Woldingham School, Surrey, with the poem 'The Forensics of Salt-Licking'.

Second Prize: Mark Thomas from Hampton School, Middlesex, with the poem 'Fusion'.

Third Prize: Lewis Harrington from Wilson's School, Wallington, Surrey, with the poem 'Firewood'.

Commended: Jeremiah Ovenden from Torquay School, Devon, with the poem 'The Building Blocks of Life'.

Commended: Matt Ward from The Gryphon School, Dorset, with the poem 'Purblind'.

Commended: Andrew Wells from Howard of Effingham School, Surrey, with the poem 'Closed Door'.

2014 - 'News', judged by Olivia McCannon and Kei Miller

First Prize: Dominic Hand from Magdalen College School, Oxford, with the poem 'Annunciation'.

Second Prize: Sam Buckton from Rudolf Steiner School, Hertfordshire, with the poem 'Hell-of-an-Island'.

Third Prize: Masha Voyles from Charterhouse, Surrey, with the poem 'Bat Child Found!'

Commended: Charlie Holmes from George Heriot's School, Edinburgh, with the poem 'Voyager'.

Commended: Jessica Matthews from Coleg Gwent Crosskeys Campus, Caerphilly, with the poem 'Current Affairs'.

Commended: Alexander Shaw from King's Priory School, Tyne and Wear, with the poem 'How to Prepare for Bad News'.

Commended: Phoebe Stuckes from West Somerset College, with the poem 'Sciamachy'.

2013 - 'The Details', judged by Carrie Etter and Bernard O'Donoghue

First Prize: Afza (Ali) Awad from Oxford Spires Academy, with the poem 'Origins'.

Second Prize: Sarah Fletcher from The American School in London, with the poem 'Kraut Girl'.

Third Prize: Erin Tunney from De Lisle Catholic Science College, Leicestershire, with the poem 'The Devil'.

Commended: Luke van den Barselaar from Colyton Grammar School, Devon, with the poem 'Research'.

Commended: Kathryn Cussons from St Paul's Girls' School, London, with the poem 'Investigation Details: Echo and Narcissus'.

Commended: Eva Wallace from Strathearn School, Belfast, with the poem 'Swimming in Loch Súilí (The Lake of Shadows)'.

2012 - 'Voyages', judged by Don Paterson and Christopher Reid

First Prize: Sarah Fletcher from The American School in London, with the poem 'Papa's Epilogue'.

Second Prize: Bethan Smith from South Essex College, with the poem 'Balloon-song'.

Third Prize: Millie Guille from St Bartholomew' School, Berkshire, with the poem 'Maiden Voyage'.

Commended: Lucy Hely-Hutchinson from Benenden School, Kent, with the poem 'Postcards'.

Commended: Hannah Tran from Dalriada Grammar School, Co. Antrim, with the poem 'The Sirens Tell their Tale'.

Commended: Jack Whitehead from Wells Cathedral School, Somerset, with the poem 'The Water Boatman from Veules-Les-Roses'.

2011 - 'Simplicity', judged by Frances Leviston and David Morley

First Prize: Elizabeth Johnson from Farlingaye High School, Suffolk, with the poem 'Wires'.

Second Prize: Jack Westmore from Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, London, with the poem 'Shipbreakers'.

Third Prize: Abigail Richards from King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Birmingham, with the poem 'Simple'.

Commended: James Browning from Wells Cathedral School, Somerset, with the poem 'How Brando is Famous'.

Commended: Thomas Fraser from Harrow School, Middlesex, with the poem 'Very Simply the Sound it Makes'.

Commended: Molly Underwood from The Perse Upper School, Cambridge, with the poem 'The Breaking Day'.

2010 - 'Promises', judged by Stephen Romer and Michael Schmidt

First Prize: Emily Harrison from Cirencester College, Gloucestershire, with the poem 'Love has no Larynx'.

Second Prize: Katie Woods from John Taylor High School, Staffordshire, with the poem 'Selkie'.

Third Prize: Megan Owens from Farlingaye High School, Suffolk, with the poem 'Jane Loudon'.

Commended: Julia Goroszeniuk from St Paul's Girls' School, London, with the poem 'A Portrait Painted Scarfless'.

Commended: Hugo Havranek from St Paul's School, London, with the poem 'Sign Language'.

Commended: Jamie Sutherland from Winchester College, Hampshire, with the poem 'Dear Dad'.

2009 - 'Doubt', judged by Jane Draycott and Daljit Nagra

First Prize: Timothy Carson from Sullivan Upper School, Belfast, with the poem 'Is Life Likely?'

Second Prize: Iona Twiston-Davies from Matthew Arnold School, Oxford, with the poem 'Grey Mile'.

Third Prize: Paul Merchant from Tonbridge School, Kent, with the poem 'Three Guesses'.

Commended: Bethany Aitman from St Paul's Girls' School, London, with the poem 'Contact'.

Commended: Emma Jourdan from St Paul's Girls' School, London, with the poem 'Evidence'.

Commended: Sophie Stephenson-Wright from St Paul's Girls' School, London, with the poem 'Villanelle'.

Commended: Charlotte Turner from Varndean College, Brighton, with the poem 'Doubt'.

2008 - 'Change', judged by Simon Armitage and Alan Jenkins

First Prize: Emily Middleton from The King's School, Macclesfield, with the poem 'The Five Stages'.

Second Prize: Ashley McMullin from The Sixth Form College, Colchester, with the poem 'Journey to Hilly Country'.

Third Prize: Nina Bahadur from St Paul's Girls' School, London, with the poem 'Heat'.

Commended: Charlotte Geater from Northgate High School, Ipswich, with the poem 'We Beasts'.

Commended: Richard O'Brien from Bourne Grammar School, Lincolnshire, with the poem 'Texting in Church'.

Commended: Amelia Penny from South Hampstead High School, London, with the poem 'Quickening'.

Commended: Anna Savory from Fort Pitt Grammar School, Kent, with the poem 'Sestina 102; 26'.

2007 - 'Flight', judged by Jo Shapcott and Francine Stock

First Prize: Charlotte Runcie from St Albans High School for Girls, with the poem 'Flying Fish'.

Second Prize: Annie Katchinska from St Dunstan's College, London, with the poem 'Margarita after Mikhail Bulgakov'.

Third Prize: Sophie Mackintosh from Ysgol y Preseli, Pembrokeshire, with the poem 'On Illumination and Reasons to Fly'.

Commended: Rees Arnott-Davies from Pimlico School, London, with the poem 'Gallus Domesticus'.

Commended: Alice Howlett from St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh, with the poem 'Before Dawn'.

Commended: Laura Marsh from Redborne Upper School, Ampthill, with the poem 'Missiles'.

2006 - 'A Building', judged by Mark Ford and Carol Rumens

First Prize: Colette Sensier from Varndean College, Brighton, with the poem 'Country House Communion'.

Second Prize: Alice Malin from Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, Shropshire, with the poem 'Fire at the Morecambe Bay Pleasure-Dome, March 1917'.

Third Prize: Alice Alexandre from The Godolphin and Latymer School, London, with the poem 'Private Property'.

Commended: David Devanny from Bradford Grammar School, West Yorkshire, with the poem 'The House'.

Commended: Charlotte Geater from Westbourne High School, Ipswich, with the poem 'The Tower'.

Commended: Julia Rampen from James Gillespie's High School, Edinburgh, with the poem 'My Grandmother's House'.

2005 - 'Gravity', judged by Gillian Clarke and Philip Pullman

First Prize: Eleanor Williams from The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Middlesex, with the poem 'Gravity'.

Second Prize: Craig Farrell from Glasgow, with the poem 'The Fall'.

Third Prize: Miranda Cichy from St Francis' College, Hertfordshire, with the poem 'The Undertaker'.

Commended: Francesca Beasley from Wallington High School for Girls, Surrey, with the poem 'The Perimeters of Gravity'.

Commended: Rebecca Hawkes from Ranelagh School, Berkshire, with the poem 'Newton's Dream'.

Commended: Shin Woo Kang from Prior Park College, Bath, with the poem 'Thank You',

2004 - 'Early Morning', judged by Frank Ormsby and Jon Stallworthy

First Prize: Katherine Hindley from South Hampstead High School, London, with the poem 'Sunrise in Egypt'.

Second Prize: Nancy Freeman from Christ the King Sixth Form College, London, with the poem 'this morning'.

Third Prize: Laura Tisdall from Hayesfield Girls' School, Bath, with the poem 'Resurrection'.

Commended: Caroline Bird from Lady Eleanor Holles School, Middlesex, with the poem 'The Softness of the Morning'.

Commended: Joanna Moorman from Coleg Gwent Crosskeys Campus, Caerphilly, with the poem 'Early Morning'.

Commended: Helen Mort from Brookfield Community School Chesterfield, with the poem 'Matins'.

2003 - 'Passport', judged by Lavinia Greenlaw and Anthony Thwaite

First Prize: Aruna Nair from Olchfa School, Swansea, with the poem 'The Passport'.

Second Prize: Wing Ying Chow from Canford School, Dorset, (poem untitled).

Third Prize: Hannah Briggs from Ilkley Gramma School, West Yorkshire, with the poem 'Pilgrimes with Passports'.

Commended: Sarah Henderson from Dumfries High School, Scotland, with the poem 'Recognition'.

Commended: Tim Smith-Laing from Tonbridge School, Kent, with the poem 'The Passport'.

Commended: James Williams from King Edward's School, Bath, with the poem 'Burgundy'.

2002 - 'Floods', judged by Kathleen Jamie and Ruth Padel

First Prize: Anna Lewis from The Blue School, Somerset, with the poem 'Into the Distance'.

Second Prize: Dhruv Sookhoo from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, with the poem 'Falling From, Rising To...'

Third Prize: Thom Glover from St Paul's School, London, with the poem 'After the Rain'.

Commended: Christopher Edwards from Churston Ferrers Grammar School, Devon, (poem untitled).

Commended: Kezia Gaitskell from Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, Hertfordshire, with the poem 'Flooded'.

Commended: Holly Patterson from Ash Manor School, Surrey, with the poem 'The Flood'.

2001 - 'Blue', judged by Andrew Motion and Paul Muldoon

First Prize: Rebecca Dudley from High Storrs School, South Yorkshire, with the poem 'Blue'.

Second Prize: Mairi Brewis from St Paul's Girls' SChool, London, with the poem 'Birthday Turtle'.

Third Prize: Felicity Marks from Beaconsfield High School, Buckinghamshire, with the poem 'Shelling Blue Eggs'.

Commended: Eve Blair from Putney High School, London, with the poem 'Blue'.

Commended: Swithun Cooper from Reading High School, Berkshire, with the poem 'Battered in Blue'.

Commended: Charlotte Dickens from East Norfolk Sixth Form College, with the poem 'Fever-Headed on Ninety-Fourth Street'

Commended: Isabella Mead from Long Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge, with the poem 'Merging the Colour'.