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Medway Youth Poet Laureate

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Could you be one of our Medway Laureates?

Can you write a poem that sums up what you think about what is happening with the climate?
And how would you interpret that?
Medway Libraries and Medway River Lit are excited to introduce Medway's first Youth Poet Laureate scheme!

Write a poem in response to the question: 'What's the weather like?'

We are looking for Medway's poetry stars of tomorrow! Youth Laureates will get mentoring and workshops with guest poets in our year-long scheme. And a chance for work to be displayed around the Libraries and published in an anthology, plus opportunities to perform! The first performance opportunity will be at Medway River Lit 2024 - where the winners of the competition will be announced. 

Key points: 

•    Age range: 12-17
•    Poems must be your own work, unpublished, not AI assisted, and up to 40 lines, in English.
•    Closing date: 14 September 2024
•    In order to be eligible, contestants must sign up for the Medway Libraries Teen Summer Reading Challenge.

  • There will be a winner, second place and third place in each age category, who will form part of our year-long Laureate mentorship programme.

Terms and conditions:


  • The competition is open to members of Medway Libraries aged 12-17 as of 13/07/24.

  • It is a condition of entry that you must sign up to the Medway Libraries Teen Summer Reading Challenge 2024.

  • The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 14/09/24.

  • There will be three age categories (12-13, 14-15, 16-17) and your work will be assessed in the age category that you are as of 13/07/24

  • Please submit one poem only. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.

  • Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.

  • Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.

  • Entrants will receive confirmation by email within 24 hours, if you haven’t received acknowledgement within 24 hours, please check your spam folder. If there is still no acknowledgement, please email. 

  • The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified. 

  • The judges will be a representative of Wordsmithery/Medway River Lit and an invited external judge.

  • The judges will read all the entries; their decision is final. Neither the judges nor Wordsmithery/Medway River Lit staff will enter into any correspondence.

  • No current employee (or immediate family of) of Wordsmithery/Medway River Lit or Medway Libraries is eligible to enter the Medway Youth Laureate Competition.

  • Any queries, please email

  • Entry is completely free.



  • All entries will be judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.

  • All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title, dedication, intros/footnotes, or stanza breaks). Entries can be on any interpretation of the question ‘What’s the weather like?’ including, but not limited to issues surrounding 'Climate Change'.

  • Poems must be in English.

  • Poems must be the entrant’s original work.

  • Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website or made public on social media, broadcast or featured among the winners in another competition before 14/09/24.

  • No simultaneous submissions.

  • Poems should be submitted in a Word document as an attachment to with the subject heading 'Laureate Competition'. Put your name, library card number, date of birth and title of the poem in the email's body. 

  • You can also post or hand your entry into any Medway Library. Please don’t put your name on the poem, and include another piece of paper with your name, library card number, date of birth and title of poem on. (This will be separated from the poem.) 
    Address the envelope:

    Medway Laureate Competition, Chatham Library and Community Hub, Gun Wharf Gardens Road, Dock Rd, Chatham ME4 4TX.

Long-listed, short-listed and winning poems: 

  • All entrants and long-listed poets will be notified by the end of September 2024.

  • Short-listed poets will be selected from the longlist by the end of October 2024 and invited to an awards event as part of Medway River Lit in November 2024.

  • The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the long-listed, short-listed and winning poems, by entering the competition, grant Medway Libraries/Medway River Lit the right to publish their poem in all formats.


  • All long-listed, short-listed and winning poems will be published in a pamphlet available from Medway Libraries.

  • The Prize includes one-year of poetry mentorship and workshops, with guest writers tba. Winners will also receive a certificate, a book bundle and a Medway River Lit goodie bag.

  • A number of commendations may be awarded at the discretion of the judging panel.

    If you have any questions - please email Medway River Lit

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