Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards 2020

Welcome to the fourth annual Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards (GBYPA)!

We are currently accepting poems for this year’s contest. The submission deadline has been extended to May 15, 2020.

This year we will be offering three youth poetry writing workshops in preparation for the submission deadline. Two workshops will be offered in Chicago and one workshop will be offered in Champaign, Illinois. Workshops will be held between February-April 2020 (dates and specific locations are forthcoming).

Here are the basics on this year’s contest:

  • The contest is open to young people currently in Kindergarten through 12th grade across the state of Illinois. Participating young people can be affiliated with any school (public, private, home, etc) or other institution.
  • Youth can only submit ONE poem and the poem must be written by only ONE author (sorry, we do not accept jointly or co-written poems for this contest).
  • Poems cannot exceed 16 lines for poems submitted by young people in grades K-5 and cannot exceed 50 lines for poems submitted by young people in grades 6-12. Poems containing visual elements are allowed, if all images/visuals are original to the poet.
  • Please only submit poems that were written between May 1, 2019 – May 15, 2020, since poems are judged based on grade level.
  • All entries must be the original work of the young person submitting the poem.
  • Youth can submit their poem on their own or the poem can be submitted by a parent/guardian or teacher using
  • When submitting a poem, please only enter your name on the entry form and do not include your name or identifying information on the poem itself, since the judging is anonymous.
  • Contest winners will be notified by July 1, 2020.
  • Winners will be honored at an Awards Ceremony to take place at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago (915 East 60th Street, Chicago, Illinois) on Saturday, August 1, 2020 from 1:00-3:00 PM.

Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards 2019

View the list of 2019 winning poems by grade below:

Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards 2018

Below is a listing of the winners and honorable mentions, along with a listing of their poems.

Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards 2017

In 2017 Illinois Humanities partnered with Our Miss Brooks 100 and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts to revitalize the Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards.

Read the 2017 winning poems.

Read the 2017 honorable mentions poems.

View a recap of the 2017 Awards Ceremony.

Learn more about the history of the Gwendolyn Brook Youth Poetry Awards.

The 2017 Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry awards was funded in part by The Chicago Community Trust, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, and the Poetry Foundation.