Robert Burns Poetry Competition

Robert Burns, the great Scottish Bard, was born on 25 January 1759; and his legend lives on through his poetry and songs, such as Tam O’ Shanter. Regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic Movement, his works reflect his strength of opinion, his love of women and his fondness (sometimes too much) of drinking.

The Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature Robert Burns Poetry Competition is a collaboration between the Dunedin Public Libraries and The Dunedin Burns Club. Entries are judged by associates of the Robert Burns Fellowship and the winners are announced and presented with prizes on Robert Burns’ birthday, 25 January.

Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand, has a familial link to Robert Burns in the form of his nephew, Dr Thomas Burns – who was one of the City’s founding fathers during Scottish settlement. A statue of Robert Burns was unveiled in 1887, and stands in the Octagon at the heart of the City Centre. Today it remains a popular focal point and meeting place for both residents and visitors.

The University of Otago holds the Robert Burns Fellowship, a prestigious residency for contemporary New Zealand writers, which enables them to further explore and develop their craft.

The Dunedin Burns Club was formed in 1891. Alongside a number of Scottish clubs and societies in the City, the Dunedin Burns Club keeps the memory of our Scottish heritage alive and well.

Past Winners