The Timothy Corsellis 2015 Prize Winners

Ready To Go’ photo by Feggy Art of the Battle of Britain Monument by Paul Day.

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2015 Timothy Corsellis Prize for poems responding to poetry of the Second World War.

We received hundreds of entries from poets aged 14-25 responding to the life and work of six WWII poets: Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed and Timothy Corsellis. The Prize was set up in memory of the young poet Timothy Corsellis, as both a memorial and an encouragement to others to explore the often overlooked field of Second World War poetry. Elizabeth Huang,winner of our Timothy Corsellis 2015 Young Critics Prize, speaking for many of our young writers praises Timothy’s “strikingly prescient poems”, which “read like commentaries on present conflicts”. Our judges were bowled over by the quality of the poems and essays we received, accompanied by insightful commentaries, which explored the work of our six chosen poets from all sorts of unique and fascinating angles – from the soldier facing imminent battle, to the 21st century student struggling to comprehend the legacy of the war. Out of the many brilliant competition entries we received, we are now delighted to announce our winners:

Timothy Corsellis Prize 2015


  • ‘Sunrise’ by Jenny Burville-Riley

Double congratulations for Jenny, who was also runner-up in the Timothy Corsellis 2015 Young Critics Prize


  • ‘Half-Halb’ by Katharina Dixon-Ward


  • ‘MCMXLIII’ by Charlotte Higgins
  • ‘Swallows and Swifts’ by Charlotte King-Davies
  • ‘untitled death, untitled war’ by Lucy Thynne
  • ‘Who Am I to Talk’ by Denisa Vítová


Timothy Corsellis Young Critics Prize 2015

We are also delighted to announce the winners of our Young Critics Prize, which asked for short essays exploring which three poets of the six are most likely to be read in twenty years’ time and why.


  • ‘Writing the Future-Postscript: The Importance of WWII Poets in the ‘Remote Age’’ by Elizabeth Huang

“although the ‘war-poet’ identity emerged during WWI, the poets of WWII produced work that is even more emotionally resonant for today’s readers […] the WWII poets carved a new war myth with an unflinching focus on the individual psychological experience and a distinctly unsentimental, demotic voice”


  • ‘Timothy Corsellis, Keith Douglas and Alun Lewis’ by Jenny Burville-Riley

“Even in an era of peace, war poetry will always resonate with our human fears and instincts at both visceral and spiritual levels”

Third Place:

  • ‘Fresh and Ancient Sound: War Poetry from Douglas, Lewis and Jarmain’ by Ella Nowicki

“these poets […] have a distinct attractiveness and quiet courage, inviting us to sympathize not only with them individually but with all soldiers from all epochs”


  • ‘Sidney Keyes, Keith Douglas and Alun Lewis’ by Hannah January

“Keyes was so young that he didn’t yet have the words to describe the enormity of everything around him. He, Lewis and Douglas, had unfinished lives as well as unfinished poems”

  • ‘Timothy Corsellis, Alun Lewis and John Jarmain’ by Alex Hewitt

“Corsellis doesn’t gives us ‘tales of filth and gore’, perhaps because these are ‘tales’ already given by poets of the past, but rather an exploration of human nature”

Huge thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to our winners!

The judges for both Prizes were Professor Fran Brearton, a leading authority on war poetry (for the War Poets Association among other places) and Professor of Modern Poetry at Queen’s College Belfast; Nic Vanderpeet, formal learning manager at the London sites of the Imperial War Museum (IWM); Judith Palmer, Director of the Poetry Society; and Dr Rowan Williams, the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, noted poet and the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Thanks to the judges for giving their time to judge the prize.

Young Poets Network would also like to thank the Corsellis family for their generosity in establishing this Prize and supporting the Poetry Society.

War Poets Association logo

Imperial War Museum Logo

IWM is unique in its coverage of conflicts, especially those involving Britain and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present day. We seek to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and ‘wartime experience’. We offer a range of options for schools, colleges, youth groups and adult groups that would like to visit our branches in London, Cambridgeshire and Greater Manchester. We also provide free on-line resources for educators to use to use in their classroom. For more information, please visit

Published October, 2015

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