Oxford City Council and Oxford Brookes University launch poetry competition to celebrate Oxford’s twin cities

Oxford City Council and Oxford Brookes University have teamed up to launch a poetry competition to celebrate twinning and Oxford’s twinned cities of Bonn (Germany), Grenoble (France), Leiden (Netherlands), Padua (Italy), Wroclaw (Poland), León (Nicaragua), and Ramallah (Palestine).

The competition asks people to write a poem on the theme of “Oxford’s twin cities”, and is supported by the Oxford Poetry Library and Les Midis de la Poésie in Brussels.

The poetry competition is open to anyone who lives in Oxfordshire or one of Oxford’s twinned cities and has three age categories:

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

A prize will be awarded in each age category, with a winner and runner-up selected from Oxfordshire and a separate winner and runner-up selected from poets who submit from Oxford’s twin cities.

If you need inspiration, suggested entries could explore the idea of friendship, connections, links or culture.

The prizes include a selection of poetry books, including Gothic Tales by Benjamin Hulme-Cross, And We Rise: The Civil Rights Movement in Poems by Erica Martin, Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School by Peter Kahn, Hanif Abdurraqib, Dan “Sully” Sullivan and Franny Choi, and poetry pamphlets from the award-winning poetry press ignitionpress.

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.

The competition’s judges are Dr Munro, Phoebe Nicholson, poet and founder of the Oxford Poetry Library, and Mélanie Godin, Director of Les Midis de la Poésie in Brussels.

Poets have until Friday 5 May to enter the competition.

For more information and to submit an entry, please visit the Brookes site.

“The Twin Cities competition is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the links that Oxford has with seven places that are vibrant with literature and culture. Oxford’s relationship with writers is famous, but the seven twin cities have dynamic literary heritages and have inspired some terrific poetry.

“Phoebe, Mélanie, and I are really looking forward to seeing how poets of all ages from Oxfordshire and the twin cities engage with the theme and produce exciting new poetry of their own.”

Dr Niall Munro

Senior Lecturer in American History at Oxford Brookes University, and Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and ignitionpress

“Twinning is all about learning from those who live in different communities around the world, and celebrating everything we have in common with those communities.

“The Oxford Twin Cities competition is a great way for Oxford residents to think about our friends overseas – and potentially win a prize.

“I’m also delighted that we’ve been able to team up with Oxford Brookes University and the fantastic people at ignitionpress, Oxford Poetry Library and Les Midis de la Poésie to make the competition happen.”

Councillor Shaista Aziz

Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities and Culture