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Yale-UCL Poetry Competition

For the last decade, the Yale-UCL competition has given medical students the chance to use their creativity to explore uniquely insightful reflections on their experiences and training.

About the competition

This competition for medical students was born out of the Yale-UCL Collaborative that fosters partnerships in the biomedical sciences and engineering, and has influenced the study of social sciences, humanities, law and architecture at the two universities as well as facilitating student and staff exchanges.

Having reached its tenth year, the poetry competition has given medical students at the two universities the opportunity to address creatively their particular experiences – and to produce some extraordinary poetry. 

Last year's exceptional format

Last year, the Coronavirus outbreak prompted the organisers to adjust the poetry competition, extending it to all Yale and UCL students. There were two competitions and the deadline was exceptionally extended to 31 July 2020:

  1. An ‘open’ competition for all Yale and UCL students for the best poem that addresses a recognizably medical or public-health related theme. 
  2. A ‘closed’ competition for Yale and UCL students of medicine and allied disciplines.

Both competitions gave the chance to win prizes of £1000 thanks to the generosity of an external donor.

Winning entries

Winning entries were announced on 4 February 2021, at a virtual event attended by students, poets, writers and guests from both sides of the Atlantic, including Nobel Prize winning biochemist and cell biologist Professor James Rothman.  

Pictured below are the 2020 competition winners whose poems expressed themes of hope and resilience alongside death, loss and issues of race and identity. 

  • First place in the competition for students of medicine and allied disciplines: Anna Vignola, a Yale Physician Assistant student from Los Angeles (centre)
  • Runner up in the same category: Sarah Wong, a final year medical student at UCL (right)
  • Runner up in the ‘open’ category: Jamie Hale, MA in Politics, a Philosophy and Economics of Health student at UCL (left)

The details and conditions for the Yale-UCL competition 2021 will be announced shorthy.

Competition finalists headshots