GDST Laurie Magnus Poetry Prize results 2023


We are delighted to announce the results of the GDST Laurie Magnus Poetry Prize 2023.

The poems were judged by Newcastle High School for Girls alumna, Sophia Blackwell.  A performance poet, published poet and novelist, Sophia Blackwell’s most recent book, The Poetry Writers’ Handbook, was published by Bloomsbury in Autumn 2022. She has performed at Glastonbury, Women of the World (WOW) Festival and headlined a national tour with Hammer and Tongue. Sophia is also a radio arts journalist, freelance editor, former Chair of Poetry London, and has taught workshops and lectured across the UK, most recently for Falmouth University. Her spoken word piece ‘The Beau Monde’ is being played as part of the Crown to Couture exhibition at Kensington Palace until October 2023.

Sophia commented on GDST Laurie Magnus Poetry Prize:

“I was delighted and inspired by the quality of this year’s entries. Choosing the winners and highly commended entries was even more of a challenge than I had anticipated. As both a page and stage poet myself, I am aware that the winning poems in several categories would be just as strong when performed as on the page and I encourage the young poets to explore that!

My thanks to all the exceptional entrants who shared their words, their sense of wonder and their awareness of the great importance of preserving our world, as well as questioning and celebrating what makes it a worthwhile place to live.”


The winning poems are:

Years 1 & 2:



What is…? – Phoebe, Sydenham High School

Phoebe manages to get across some complex topics and thoughts on nature and the future of our Earth, by approaching the subject at an angle rather than spelling its message out from the start. Sophisticated and well sustained.

Read Phoebe's story


Highly Commended:

The Lost Cub – Emily, Bromley High School

Loved the use of the visual art and its constraints in the poem and the attention to detail on the panda’s shape, while managing to tell the story of the cub and its mother effectively.

Read Emily's story


Some Teachers – Lottie, Streatham & Clapham High School

Hilarious – the young poet calls it a ‘silly rhyme’ but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of silliness! Reminiscent of Edward Lear and some other sophisticated, anarchic comic poetry. Writing funny poetry is a challenge, but the poet acquits themselves well here – worth a commendation for the rhymes alone.

Read Lottie's story


Years 3 & 4:



Far Away – Isla, Streatham & Clapham High School

A fascinating and skillful look at the planets that sustains its momentum over the length of the poem.

Read Isla's story


Highly Commended:

The Potato’s Dream – Liya, Northwood College for Girls

A priceless comic poem about an irresistible subject – how could you not love this potato?

Read Liya's story


My Crown – Charlotte, Wimbledon High School

Beautiful imagery and some daring metaphors make this sparing nature poem truly original.

Read Charlotte's story


Years 5 & 6



Life and Death – Alice, Blackheath High School

I was unable to resist the use of rhythm and repetition in this poem which gets across complex concepts and daunting topics (life and death – it doesn’t get much bigger than that)! with deceptively simple Anglo-Saxon words that make the piece seem reminiscent of a prayer, rock or rap song or William Blake poem.

Read Alice's story


Years 7, 8 & 9


Joint Winners:

Just Checking – Matilda, Sydenham High School

I loved the repetition on this, its song-like qualities and its consistency, taking a light-touch approach to phone addiction and compulsion that doesn’t undermine the seriousness of its central message.

Read Matilda's story


History is Written by the Victors – Yara, Notting Hill & Ealing High School

A timely, searching and thought-provoking poem that interrogates how history is written, taught and edited, and takes a wider look at what that might mean for both individuals and the world as a whole.

Read Yara's story


Years 10 & 11



In a Turn of the Earth – Freya, Croydon High School

Elegant and mysterious, a sophisticated poem of loss that suggests great potential for this poet in their future work.

Read Freya's story


Years 12 & 13



Blackberry Jam – Phoebe, Wimbledon High School

Daring to be simple, specific and precise has paid off for this poet, with an everyday subject and moment given beauty in the telling.

Read Phoebe's story


Many congratulations to our winners and to all students who participated in the competition.