Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition

The Annual Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition

Eugene Lee-Hamilton was a poet and novelist who studied at Oriel (1864-66) who revived the use of Petrarchan Sonnets in his own work, and encouraged it in others. The poetry competition prize was founded by the late Mrs Eliza Ann Lee-Hamilton by bequest in 1943, in memory of Eugene James Lee-Hamilton who died in 1907, in order to encourage the composition of the Petrarchan sonnet in Oxford and Cambridge.

2017 Competition

The Provost and Fellows of Oriel College offer an annual prize of £60 for the best Petrarchan Sonnet in English submitted by a current undergraduate of Oxford or Cambridge. The sonnet can be on a topic of the author’s choosing, and enjambment between the eighth and ninth lines is permitted. Entries for the 2017 competition are now welcome!

How to Enter

If you wish to enter a sonnet into the competition, please send your entry to Mrs Rebecca Bricklebank, Oriel College ( by 12 noon on Thursday 25th May 2017; and entrants will be informed of the results by 16th June 2017.

Each sonnet must be accompanied by an email from the Head or a Fellow of the candidate’s college, stating that the candidate is a current undergraduate.

The winner will have been deemed to have given permission to publish his/her sonnet online on Oriel’s webpage, and in the Oriel Record.

2015 Winning Poem 

The winner of the Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition 2015 was Dominic Hand, Oriel College, Oxford with his sonnet 'On First Looking at Newman's Window'

2014 Winning Poems

There were two winning poems in 2014; Catherine Olver, of Corpus Cristi College, Cambridge with 'The Labourers to Proserpina', and Tara Lee, of Queens' College, Cambridge with 'What the time tells'.