Author Archives: Georgi Gill

Poetry By Heart Scotland 2016-17: open for registration!


Poetry By Heart 2015-16 Finalists

Poetry By Heart 2015-16 Finalists

Poetry By Heart Scotland was first launched by the Scottish Poetry Library in 2014 as a new, pan-Scotland competition, encouraging and maximising secondary school students’ engagement with the richness of past and contemporary poetry. Participating students are challenged to learn and perform poems from our specially curated competition database.

Feedback shows that participating students develop confidence in public speaking and also deepen their relationship with, and appreciation of, poetry in general. 2016 Joint Winner, Craig McCorquodale said:

‘I’m not sure that PBHS was about who was given first place; it was about the power of having a voice. It was about sharing something with others, and making a concentrated form of language a rather simple one.’

On the SPL website we have a short film (6 minutes) which showcases students from the 2015-2016 finals. Students, teachers and poets talk about what they have enjoyed and what the benefits are. The film’s well worth a watch to get a flavour of the competition and a sense of its varied benefits. You can watch it here.

Keen to find out more? Below are details about PBHS, including how to register. If you have more questions that aren’t answered here, please do get in touch  directly with me at

WHO takes part?

  • Pupils in S4-S6 as competitors; non-competitors can also be given supporting roles in running your contest.

WHAT do competitors have to do?

WHEN is it all happening?

  • School competitions by 16 December 2015
  • Regional semi-finals Spring 2016
  • National finals to be held on 18 March 2016

WHERE is the action?

  • First rounds in any Scottish secondary school.
  • Regional semi-finals in towns and cities across Scotland, in libraries, community arts centres or museums. Already we have schools signed up in Aberdeen, Stirling, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth. Schools in these and other areas are very welcome to join us!
  • National finals at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh

HOW do we get involved?

  • PBHS is completely free of charge to all secondary schools in Scotland.
  • Schools MUST register in order to participate – email to register or phone Georgi Gill on 0131 557 2876.
  • After registration you will receive free resources to organize your competition and have fun!

Georgi Gill, Learning Manager, the Scottish Poetry Library

Poetry By Heart Scotland: calling S4-S6 teachers and students

Poetry By Heart Scotland is a competition from the Scottish Poetry Library that gives students in S4-6 opportunities to learn by heart and perform poems from our specially curated database. Students compete at school, regional and national level, culminating in a final event in Edinburgh where they have the chance to perform in front of high profile poets such as Liz Lochhead, Rachel MCrum, Diana Hendry and Tom Pow.

Schools that participated in the pilot have told us that through the competition students improved their self-confidence and went on to engage with poetry on a deeper, more meaningful level in the classroom. It’s a great chance for the teachers too – an opportunity to run the school competitions and regional heats in a personalised way that responds to the needs and interests of their students. Registrations are currently open till the end of September and we’d love for as many schools as possible to participate this year, following our successful pilot in 2014-15. To date, schools have registered from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeen, Dunblane, Perth and Kinross; there is capacity for more schools in these regions and others throughout Scotland to join us.

The competition is completely free for all participants and the Scottish Poetry Library funds all related travel costs and prizes.

You can find out more about Poetry By Heart Scotland on the SPL website at or email me at – I’d be delighted to explain more, answer any questions or engage in general poetry chat!