Congratulations to the winners of our poetry competition for school pupils 2023!

We are delighted to announce the winners of this year's poetry competition for school pupils. 

1st Prize: Poems written in English - Elisa Mila Grosse, 15, Berlin Cosmopolitan school (BCS): "What have we become?"

2nd Prize: Poems written in English - Ryan Oppermann, 14, Nelson Mandela School: "Happy Place"

1st Prize: Poems written in German - Helena Engel, 16, Gymnasium bei St. Stephan, Augsburg: "Unverbraucht"

2nd Prize: Poems written in German - Zoe Rudolph, Klasse 6a, Johanneum zu Lübeck: "Echo einer vergangenen Zeit"

Special mentions: Anna Koch, 15, "Existential Demise" and Alexander Kuhn-Prinz, 14, "Trapped by Delusion" from Evangelischen Gymnasiums Siegen-Weidenau.

The winning poems and their translations will be published on the British Council and Haus für Poesie website in due course. All participants will receive personalised feedback on their poems. Many many congratulations to all those who took part, and in particular to our winners!

Selina Nwulu © Paul Heartfield

About the 2023 competition

Competition description

Do you enjoy writing poems in English or German? Would you like to see your poetry translated and published to a wide online audience, win tickets to the poesiefestival berlin (17–23 June 2023), and secure a place on a writing course at Berlin's prestigious Haus für Poesie? Would you like to win a poetry-writing workshop for your class?

The focus of this year's competition is future. We are thrilled that the UK poet and former Young Poet Laureate for London Selina Nwulu alongside German poet Karla Montasser (Haus für Poesie) will be judging our poetry competition this year. Nwulu's poem "We have everything we need" provides the starting point for the pupils' poems. This year, pupils can enter their responses to Nwulu's poem in English or in German. The poems should be a maximum of 30 lines long. Pupils must be aged between 13-18 years old at the time of writing.

How to apply

  • To apply: Email your entry to with the subject: "British Council competition 2023". In your email, please include your name, age, home address, gender (m/f/x), school name, and school grade.
  • Competition deadline: 5pm Friday 15th April 2023
  • Winners announced: Monday 15th May 2023

If you have any questions about eligibility, please email Karla Montasser at or call +49 (0) 30 4852 4536

Eligibility and rules

  • You must be a pupil at a school in Germany
  • You must be aged between 13-18 years old at the time of writing your poem
  • Your poem can be written in English or in German
  • Your poem must be a response to Selina Nwulu's poem 'We have everything we need' (PDF worksheet to download below)
  • Your poem should be no longer than 30 lines long



Four poems will be chosen as winners: 1st and 2nd prizes in the poems written in English category and 1st and 2nd prizes for the poems written in German category.

  • All winners will have their poems translated by a professional translator into German or English
  • All winners will have their poems in English and in German published on the website and social media channels of the British Council in Germany and Haus für Poesie.
  • Two prize winners will win a poetry-writing workshop with Selina Nwulu together with their class
  • All winners will win tickets for the Haus für Poesie's poesiefestival 2023, taking place between 9-16 June 2023
  • All winners will win places on the Haus für Poesie's writing workshop programme Open Poems / Young Poems 

This year's judge: Selina Nwulu

Selina Nwulu is a writer of Nigerian heritage. Her poetry and essays have been translated into a number of languages and widely featured in a variety of journals, short films and anthologies, including the critically acclaimed anthology New Daughters of Africa. Her first chapbook collection, The Secrets I Let Slip was published in 2015 by Burning Eye Books and is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. She was Young Poet Laureate for London 2015-6, an award that showcases literary talent across the capital, and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2019. She is also a 2021 Arts Award Finalist for Environmental Writing. Her debut full length collection, A Little Resurrection, also a Poetry Book Society recommendation, was published with Bloomsbury in 2022 and is an Irish Times book of the year.