The Timothy Corsellis Prize 2016

We are delighted to announce the launch of the third annual Timothy Corsellis Prize! For the past two years, the Prize has elicited an incredible variety of responses to poetry of the Second World War, and we are looking forward to receiving even more of your extraordinary work this year.

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Timothy Corsellis was a young poet and pilot killed in 1941. The Prize was set up in his name, with the support of his family, to encourage more people to read the powerful but lesser-known poets of the Second World War.

The Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize asks young writers aged 14-25 to respond to the life and/or work of a small selection of Second World War poets: Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed and Timothy Corsellis. This year, we have expanded the list of Second World War poets to also include the Russian author Anna Akhmatova.

We are also once more running our Young Critics Prize, for short essays of 500-1,500 words exploring which three poets (Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed, Anna Akhmatova or Timothy Corsellis) are most likely to be read in twenty years’ time, and why. We received some really thoughtful, searching and innovative essays last year, and we’re hoping you will impress us again. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not read last year’s winning essay, ‘Writing the Future-Postscript: The Importance of WWII Poets in the ‘Remote Age’’ by Elizabeth Huang.

The judges for both Prizes will be Professor Fran Brearton (for the War Poets Association), a leading authority on war poetry; Nic Vanderpeet from Imperial War Museums; Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society, and, new to the panel this year, Wendy Cope, noted poet and author of, among other collections, Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amis. We are delighted that Wendy is joining the panel in place of our 2015 judge Lord Rowan Williams, also a noted poet and Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University.

Tweede Wereldoorlog . Geallieerde vliegtuigen boven Nederland bij bevrijding. Zwaaiende mensen.

There will be a first prize winner and two runners-up in each category, who will receive £100 in book tokens and £50 in book tokens respectively, plus a much-coveted Young Poets Network notebook, other poetry goodies, and (of course) and publication on Young Poets Network. The first prize poem will be published in The Poetry Society’s quarterly paper Poetry News. The first prize essay will be published on The Poetry Society’s website.

This competition is now closed. Huge thanks to all who entered – we will be announcing the winners in early October.

Young Poets Network would like to thank the Corsellis family for their generosity in establishing this Prize and their continuing support of The Poetry Society.


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 June, 2016

8 thoughts on “The Timothy Corsellis Prize 2016

    1. Hi Egwu,

      To enter the poetry competition, please choose one or more poet/s mentioned above and write a poem in response to their life and/or poetry. It can be anything about their life or work, whatever inspires you. Then send your poem in the body of an email to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Corsellis Poetry Prize 2016’. Be sure to include your name, date of birth and and address with your entry. You also need to include a short commentary (up to 300 words) explaining the way in which your poem is a response to the life or work of the WWII poet/s.

      If you look above, under ‘How to enter the Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize’, you will find full details about how to enter, as well as links directing you to more information about the featured poets.

      If you have any other questions about this competition, please email us at [email protected]

      Young Poets Network

    1. Hi Hamzah,

      Yes, you absolutely can – the competition is open to all people aged 25 or under from anywhere in the world.

      Looking forward to receiving your entry,

      Young Poets Network

  1. Hi, I submitted a poem for the competition a couple of weeks ago – I’ve had a problem before with trying to send a poem to YPN so please could you confirm you got it? Thanks!

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