Varndean College IB Student wins 2 nd prize in University of Oxford’s Poetry Competition

April 23, 2020

Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo-2

Second year IB Diploma student, Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo, has today learned that he has won second place in the University of Oxford’s Christopher Tower Poetry Competition.

Now in its 20th year, the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition is open to students aged between 16-18 years and was set up at the bequest of the late Christopher Tower to stimulate an enjoyment and critical appreciation of poetry, particularly among young people in education, and to challenge people to write their own poetry.

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Trees’ which led Fiy to write his successful entry ‘Sonnet to Palm Sunday’ which has won him personal prizes, plus a £150 cash prize for Varndean College which will be used to purchase new poetry collections for the College library.

Competition judge, Rebecca Watts, commented on Fiy’s poem, “This poem has a cracking opening and I loved its authoritative, conversational tone. As well as offering an interesting take on the theme, it showed an impressive command of language, rhythm and form – gently pushing at the sonnet’s confines, as though there is more to say. Part of its sophistication, in fact, is in what the poem leaves unsaid; I felt confident that the poet knew exactly what they were doing.”

Fiy (aged 18), who came to the UK from Nigeria in 2018 to study the prestigious two-year International Baccalaureate Diploma at Varndean, plans to study Medicine as a career after college and has an offer to study at Imperial College from this September.

Varndean College IB Literature tutor, Ellie Cook, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Fiy has been awarded this prize. Fiy has been writing poetry since childhood, but his engagement with the World Literature module of the IB Diploma has led him to experiment with the manipulation of traditional forms of poetry weaving through elements of his Nigerian heritage and producing work that is both fresh in its perspective and haunted with its own literary history. We are so very proud of his achievement.”

For further details, please contact:

Jackie Francis, Marketing Manager,
Ellie Cook, IB Literature Tutor,