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Mother Tongues Poetry Competition


Mother Tongues Poetry Competition


Calling All Aspiring Young Poets!

Do you like to compose prose, rhyme your lines or converse in verse? 
Well then, write this way- we have the perfect opportunity for you! 
In association with Languages Connect and Poetry Ireland, Mother Tongues is excited to announce our 2020 Poetry Competition which celebrates the power of poetry and multilingualism and absolutely delighted that this year’s judges will be Felicia Olusanya and Marluce Lima.
This year, we are inviting aspiring poets between the ages of 8-18, to tell the story of “Language and Identity” through poetry.
Poems can be written in the language of your choice and must be submitted before 27/01/20 via this form on the Mother Tongues Festival website. If you would like to submit a poem in Sign Language (Irish or British) Sign Language, you need to fill in the same form and also send a video by Wetransfer (with the text in the Message field) to francesca[at]
The lucky winner will have their poem published on the Mother Tongues Festival website and receive prizes including a €100 book voucher, tickets to the 2020 Mother Tongues Festival and a selection of books from Poetry Ireland.
Please make sure to check full guidelines and T&C’s before submission.
Happy Writing!


1. Kidist Puig Lynch
2. Wilma Adamu  

1. Teodora Perju  
2. Kian Blanchet

1. Nicole McFadden 
2. Zachary McCauley

1. Chelsea Tanaleon
2. Kaja Bozi

1. Fern Jitphulphon
2. Heather Slevin

1. Elizabeth Akinwande  
2. Taro Noba


Languages connect
Poetry Ireland, Mother Tongues, Mother Tongues Dublin, multilingualism, raising bilingual children Dublin, bilingualism, Dublin

Terms and Conditions


  1. The Mother Tongues Poetry Competition 2020 (the “Competition”) is organised by Mother Tongues.
  2. The competition is open to anyone aged 8 to 18 at the time of entering unless excluded by these Rules. By entering the Competition, you confirm that you understand and agree to accept these Rules.
  3. Only entries from people living in Ireland and Northern Ireland are welcome.
  4. The closing date of the competition is 27th January (22:00 GMT).  
  5. There are two categories in the Competition 
    i) Mother Tongue (In this competition Mother Tongue is intended as a language the pupil has been using from a young age)
    ii) Second language (In this competition second language is intended as a language the pupil has learned in the school years.)
  6. The competition is open to children of all abilities. Children can enter under a Special Educational Needs category.
  7. A single entrant can enter a maximum of one poem. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  8. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered. If entrants wish to correct errors in their poem, they must withdraw it from the Competition and enter again. No correspondence or discussion about amendments will be entered into.
  9. Mother Tongues cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the Competition.
  10. Mother Tongues reserves the right both to cancel the Competition and to amend these Rules where it is deemed necessary or to account for circumstances beyond Mother Tongues’ control. Any notice of cancellation or changes to the Rules will be posted on the Mother Tongues Festival website.
  11.   In the event of any dispute regarding these Rules or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of Mother Tongues shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.
  12.   Entries not complying with the Competition Rules will be disqualified, as will entrants in breach of the Rules.
  13.   Entrants must not approach or attempt to influence any judge or member of Mother Tongues staff over Competition matters.


14.  All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself. However, you must give your real name as part of your submission, even if you prefer that your work is published under a pseudonym.

  1.   All poems must have a title and must not exceed 20 lines in length (excluding title).
  2.   Entries have to focus on the theme of Language & Identity. Entries that are not linked to the theme will not qualify.
  3.   Poems must be the original work of the entrant.
  4.   Entries must not have been published in print, on websites, public areas of social networking sites, broadcast, have featured among the winners of another competition or be submitted elsewhere for consideration.
  5. Poems can be written in English, Irish, other languages or a mix of languages or they can be presented in video format if using Irish Sign Language or British Sign Language. Video must be sent by Wetransfer to francesca[at] but the entrant must fill in the form as well.
  6.   Entrants who submit poems written in languages other than English or Irish need to name the languages used in the poem.


    Entry is free

  7.   All entries must be submitted via JotForm using the link on the Mother Tongues Festival website. ISL and BSL poems must send a video as well, using Wetransfer, to francesca[at] but the entrant must fill in the form as well.
  8.   Entries must comprise one poem per document and be submitted as a Microsoft Word file (.doc or .docx), Rich Text Format file (.rtf) or as a PDF file (.pdf).


  9. Entries for the competition will be categorised as follows

Each winner will receive 

  • A 100 Euro book voucher
  • A selection of books from Poetry Ireland
  • Tickets for shows at the Mother Tongues Festival

  24. No poet may win more than one prize.


  25. Prize-winners and shortlistees will be notified by mid-February 2020 and invited to an award ceremony to take place in Tallaght on Saturday 22nd February in the afternoon.


26. Prize-winning pieces will appear in electronic format on the Mother Tongues website and may be printed in publications by Mother Tongues or in other electronic forms. Shortlisted poems will be listed by author name and title on the Mother Tongues website. The copyright in each poem submitted remains with the author but prize-winning and shortlisted entrants grant Mother Tongues a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry submitted for the duration of the Competition and for publicity purposes (including in print and electronic publications) thereafter.

27.  Entrants not selected for prizes or shortlisted are free to submit poems entered into the Competition for consideration elsewhere (i.e. to other competitions or for publication) after the winners are announced in February 2020.

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