Rap Like Robbie Poetry Competition 2021

Image of Robert Burns

The Rap Like Robbie competition 2021 runs from Wednesday 15th September to Friday 19th November 2021

Robert Burns was a rock star back in the day. He wrote about everything from nature to sex, drinking, poverty, equality, flirting, love, drink, women, and a lot about remorse! If he was alive today, he might be loading his stuff onto Spotify and tweeting his fans. Sometimes he wrote in Scots, sometimes in English, and often with a wicked sense of humour.

Why not write your own poem inspired by Robert Burns and score $500, sponsored by the Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society, plus two tickets to the annual Burns Dinner to ready your poem, sponsored by Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature!

This year’s theme is NEW SCOTLAND. You can choose to write your poem in response to these questions:

  • How has Scottish culture evolved at home and abroad?
  • Do the Scots become more Scottish the further they travel from the homeland?
  • What happens when cultures blend or collide, with travel and migration?

You can choose to write in English or in Scots. Try reading a bit of of Burns’ work and see where it takes you.

Need a bit of help with your poem? Email: library@dcc.govt.nz and we’ll put you in touch with a poet to help workshop your poetry.

Resources to get you started: Robert Burns Poetry Competition for Teens

To enter you must be aged between 11 and 17 years old.

Print an entry form (new window) or pick one up from your local Dunedin Public Library, or enter online (new window)

Submit a copy of your poem with your entry form by 5pm Friday 19 November 2021.

Poems must be no longer than 500 words.


  • The 2021 Robert Burns Teen Poetry Competition runs from 15 September until Friday 19 November.
  • Entries close Friday 19 November, at 5pm.
  • 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  • All poems must be original to the person on the entry form and unpublished.
  • You may submit more than one entry, but each entry must be submitted separately.
  • Entries will be judged anonymously by the selected panel: do not put your name on the the poem, but do include a title on the poem document, and ensure that the title on your entry form matches that on your poem.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • Winning entrants will be selected and informed by Monday 13 December 2021.
  • Young poets must be aged between 11 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, and tickets for the winner plus 1 to attend the Burns Dinner on 25th January 2022, sponsored by the Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.
  • Winners will be publicly announced and prizes presented on Tuesday 25th January 2022 between 12.30pm and 6.30pm, at the Dunedin City Library.
  • Prize winners will be invited to read their poem at the prizegiving, or may choose for their poem to be read on their behalf. First place winner will be invited to read their poem at the Burns Dinner on the evening of 25th January 2022.
  • If unable to attend, arrangements will be made for winning prizes to be collected by, or delivered to, the winner.
  • Prize-winning poems will be published in the digital edition of the Otago Daily Times, 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.