Mother Tongue Other Tongue

The Competition:

The popular Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition is coming back to Wales. Routes Cymru is inviting entries from Year 4 to Year 13 pupils!

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.

We welcome entries from schools or any other group (e.g. community, Home Ed, Writing). 

Groups can submit up to 6 entries per category:

  • Mother Tongue: entrants may submit an original piece of writing or choose a poem, song or lullaby that they have been taught or remember. 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. 

How to enter:

Mother Tongue Other Tongue invites entries from children aged 8-18 (Year 4 to Year 13).

Organisations who get the most out of running Mother Tongue Other Tongue will see this as more than just a competition.  We encourage schools and other groups to celebrate all of the work created.  You could create a school anthology, or an exhibition, or hold a poetry reading to showcase your pupils’ work.  Inviting families in to hear poetry read in your schools’ languages, by pupils is an incredibly powerful thing to do.  If you do anything like this, please tell us and send photographs or recordings, we’d love to share!

  • Deadline for entries to be submitted is Sunday 29th May 2022
  • Entries must be submitted in the forms below
  • Entries must come from the teacher or group leader.  Entries direct from pupils or parents will NOT be considered. 
  • Entries may be collaborative. 
  • Entries are judged on written content, though we do get beautifully presented pieces and might include these, where we can, in an anthology and/or summer exhibition

You can also share with us on Twitter @RoutesCymru @McrPoetryLib @MCBFestival.