Poetry Prize

1st Prize: CHF 250 | 2nd Prize: CHF 125 | 3rd Prize CHF 100*
All shortlisted poets are invited to the  Writing Workshop, the Winner’s Reception and will receive a copy of The Anthology

Submissions: Poems can be submitted from 7th October 2018 until midday, Friday 3rd April 2020.

Shortlisted students will be contacted at the end of April and invited to the Workshop and Reception to take place in Luzern in May 2020.

Submission is free, but is limited to two poems per student. Students may submit to both the Poetry Prize and the Short Story Prize.

Theme and Line Limit

Poetry Judge Yun Wei has chosen the theme of ‘Distance’ for this year’s Prize.

She writes:

“There are geographical distances across land and sea, and emotional ones inside the close space between people. Distance is a measure and a state of being. It measures the travel needed to reach a destination, or the journey to becoming the person you want to be. Being distant is a state of detachment or unfamiliarity, which can change to intimacy and belonging. Distances can grow or shrink. Distances mark the relationships between places, people and ideas. Even on the written page, the small spaces between words can have great meaning. There are cultural distances, the boundaries that define them, and those who work on transcending those boundaries. There can be a separation in beliefs and politics, and closeness because of shared stories and customs. Think about nearness and farness and everything that happens in between.

My favorite poems use language in an unexpected way, show emotion without falling into clichés and have a unique point of view. I enjoy all forms of poetry: from sestinas to ghazals, from the narrative to the philosophical, from lyrical to casual language. What is important is that the choice of form fits the poem, that there is thoughtfulness to the placement of line breaks, and that word choice has been intentional. Most of all, I want to be surprised, whether it’s in the creative interpretation of the theme, or the lyricism of the lines.

For writers new to poetry, my recommendation is to read widely and see what you like, then figure out why you like it. If you were moved, why were you moved? If you liked the musicality of a poem, which sounds and rhythms made it musical? As an example, the poets I return to again and again are Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Natalie Diaz, Stephen Dunn and Li-Young Lee.”


Line Limit

There is a 40-line limit per poem.

Entry requirements: The Poetry Prize is open to any student high-school-aged student in Swiss public upper-secondary education. There are currently no age divisions, however students must note whether they are mother-tongue English speakers, or following a bi-lingual study programme, and whether they are studying for the Maturity Certificate. The competition is not open to students from schools where the teaching is primarily in English, such as international schools, or students studying for international examinations.

Please read the rules before submitting.



*Prizes are paid in 50% cash/50% book tokens