Mother Tongue Other Tongue

The Competition

We are currently working on this event, and we will be updating the page shortly with details about the 2023-24 academic year. Please keep a close eye on our website and social media pages for regular updates. 

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a multilingual poetry competition which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing, and showcases the many languages spoken and learned by young people in school and at home.

This National Laureate education project was first established by Professor Carol Ann Duffy (UK Poet Laureate 2009-2019) in collaboration with Manchester Met University in 2010. It is a celebration of cultural diversity and the numerous languages that are spoken by pupils in the schools of the UK.

The competition is open to primary and secondary schools.  

Groups can submit up to 6 entries per category:

  • Mother Tongue: entrants will choose a poem or a song or lullaby that they have been taught or that they remember, or they can submit an original piece. This can be in any language other than Welsh or English.  The piece submitted must be accompanied by a commentary, written in Welsh or English and no longer than half a page of A4.  The commentary may include a translation but will mainly explain the inspiration behind the piece of writing, why it is important, why it was chosen. The entry will be judged on this commentary and not on the original piece of writing.
  • Other Tongue: entrants will write a poem or a song, in a language that is not their first language but a language that they are currently learning. We currently accept entries in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, Polish, Galician and Catalan for this category. If you wish to enter a poem in another taught language, please do get in touch; if we are able to find someone who can judge a poem in this language, we will consider including it.