Oxford's Twin Cities competition

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Enter Oxford’s Twin Cities Poetry Competition!

Organized by Oxford City Council and Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, and in association with the Oxford Poetry Library and Les Midis de la Poésie, the competition is open to anyone who lives in Oxfordshire or in one of Oxford's twin cities. There are three age categories:

  • 11 years old and under
  • 12-16 year olds
  • Over 16 years 

The theme for the competition is ‘Oxford’s twin cities’.

What does this mean to you? You might want to explore ideas of friendship, connections, links, or culture. For further ideas and inspiration, you can read about Oxford’s twin cities on the City Council’s International Links page, and read more about the poets and poetry of these cities on the Poetry Centre website.


A prize will be awarded in each age category with a winner and runner-up selected from Oxfordshire and a winner and runner-up selected from poets who submit from Oxford’s twin cities. The judges will also select a shortlist of poems.

The prizes include a selection of poetry books, including Gothic Tales, edited by Benjamin Hulme-Cross (Oxford University Press), And We Rise: The Civil Rights Movement in Poems edited by Erica Martin (Penguin Young Readers / Viking Books for Young Readers), Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School, edited by Peter Kahn, Hanif Abdurraqib, Dan “Sully” Sullivan and Franny Choi (Penguin Young Readers / Penguin Workshop), and poetry pamphlets from the award-winning poetry press ignitionpress, based at Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre.

As part of their prize, the winner of each over-16 category will also receive a one-hour online session of feedback about their poetry. The meeting, with Dr Niall Munro, Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and ignitionpress, will focus on up to five poems by the winning poet, and will include comments on the work, suggestions for improvement, and advice on publication. You can find out more about ignitionpress on the Poetry Centre website.

Our judges

We are excited to announce our judges are Dr Niall Munro, Senior Lecturer in American Literature & Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, Phoebe Nicholson, poet and founder of the Oxford Poetry Library, and Mélanie Godin, Director of Les Midis de la Poésie in Brussels.

How to enter

The competition deadline is 9am BST on Friday 5 May 2023.

Entries are free. You can submit a maximum of 3 poems per person. Poems must be in English.

Entering the competition is a two-step process. Firstly, please fill out your details on our Google Form. If you are entering on behalf of a child, please enter their name when prompted by the question.

Secondly, e-mail up to three poems to our e-mail address: internationallinks@oxford.gov.uk

Please do not include your name on the document, since the poems will be judged anonymously. We will match your poems to the name and/or e-mail details on the form.

If you have questions about the competition, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions (below). If your question isn’t answered there, contact us at: internationallinks@oxford.gov.uk 

About Oxford’s Twin Cities

You'll see the signs naming our twin cities every time you enter the city - but what does it mean, and why do we do it?

Twin city links give people the chance to engage with other cultures and ways of life, and make these experiences more accessible through established contacts and networks in the linked cities. 

They also bring benefit to cities through knowledge-sharing activities, where people can learn from how problems are tackled in other countries, exchange ideas and understand different viewpoints.

Oxford has 7 twin cities: Leiden in The Netherlands; Bonn in Germany; Grenoble in France; León in Nicaragua, Wrocław in Poland, Ramallah in Palestine and Padua in Italy. You can read about each of our twin cities on the City Council’s International Links page.

Frequently asked questions

Terms and conditions