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.

About the 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.

2018 Competition

The 2018 Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition is now closed. This page will be updated with information on how to enter the 2019 competition in late April/early May 2019.

2018 Winning Poems

In 2018, the quality of entries was so high that the judges decided to award the Eugene Lee-Hamilton Prize to two winners: Dominic Leonard, Christ Church Oxford, with his sonnet 'The Fisher of Ham Common' and Shimali de Silva, Peterhouse Cambridge, with her sonnet 'Stella to her Violent Lover'. Read both sonnets here.

2017 Winning Poem

The winner of the Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition 2017 was Conor Wilcox-Mahon, St John's College, Oxford with his sonnet 'Merlin's Tower'.

2016 Winning Poem

The winner of the Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition 2016 was Jacob Mercer, The Queen's College, Oxford with his sonnet 'The Colossus'.

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'.