Rap Like Robbie Poetry Competition

Write a poem inspired by Robert Burns and score yourself $500, sponsored by the Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society!

Who's Robert Burns?

Robert Burns was a bit of a rock star poet back in the day. He wrote about everything from nature to sex, drinking, poverty, equality, flirting, love, women, and a lot about remorse.

If he was alive today, he might be loading his stuff on Spotify and Tweeting his fans.

Sometimes he wrote in Scots, sometimes in English, and he had a wicked sense of humour.

The competition

You can write about whatever you like, in English or you can have a go at writing in Scots. It can be any style - just read a bit of Burns' work and see where it takes you. The theme for this year's competition is freedom, inspired by Burns' poem Here's a Health to them that's Awa.

Need a bit of help with your poem? Email us and we'll put you in touch with a poet to help workshop your poetry, or you can invite our team of poetry experts to visit your school and run a workshop for your class.

More resources you might find useful to get you started.

To enter, you must be aged between 12 and 17 years and a resident of Otago.

Pick up an entry form from any Dunedin Public Library, or download a form to print off, or you can enter online.

The competition closes on Monday 30th November 2020, at 5pm.

The Prizes

  • 1st prize: Stan Forbes Medal; $500 generously sponsored by the Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society; publication in the digital edition of the Otago Daily Times,  on the Dunedin Public Libraries' website and in the Dunedin Public Libraries' e-magazine NB; two tickets to the Robert Burns Birthday Supper hosted by the Dunedin Burns Club. Tickets sponsored by the Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.
  • 2nd prize: Certificate; publication on the Dunedin Public Libraries website and in the Dunedin Public Libraries magazine NB
  • 3rd prize: Certificate; publication on the Dunedin Public Libraries website and in the Dunedin Public Libraries magazine NB

All prizewinners will be invited to attend a ceremony to receive their prize on 25th January 2021 (Robert Burns' birthday), at Dunedin City Library. Prizewinners will be asked to read their poem to the audience, but may nominate someone else to read for them if they prefer.

Conditions of Entry

  • The 2020 Robert Burns Teen Poetry Competition runs until Monday 30 November 2020 inclusive.
  • Entries close at 5pm Monday 30 November 2020.
  • Late entries will not be accepted.
  • A strict word count of 500 words max will be imposed.
  • All poems must be original to the person on the entry form and unpublished (ie you must not have submitted the poem to any previous competition and had it published, and you must not have had your poem published in any publication for payment).
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Entries will be judged anonymously by the selected panel.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • Winning entrants will be selected and informed by Friday 18th December 2020.
  • Young poets must be aged between 12 and 17 years inclusive at the time of entry.
  • First, Second and Third Prizes will be awarded.
  • First prize package includes a cheque for $500 sponsored by the Dunedin Edinburgh Sister City Society.
  • Winners will be publicly announced and prizes presented on Monday 25 January 2021 between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, at the Dunedin City Library.
  • 1st Prize winners will be invited to read their poem on collection of their prize, or may choose for their poem to be read on their behalf.
  • Winning entrants will not be funded to attend the official prize-giving.
  • If unable to attend, arrangements will be made for winning prizes to be collected by, or delivered to, the winner.
  • 1st Prize winning poems will be published in the digital edition of the Otago Daily Times and published in the Dunedin Public Libraries' e-magazine NB, and on the Dunedin Public Libraries website 
  • A copy of all entries will be retained by the Dunedin Public Libraries, unless an entrant requests otherwise.
  • Please submit a copy of your original poem as entries will not be returned.