2019 Sonnet Contest

Open to DC Area Students in Grades 3 through 12

Students in grades 3 through 12 in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia are invited to submit original sonnets for the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Sonnet Contest. Winners are invited to read their entries on the Folger stage during Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Sonnets may be written on any subject and in any voice, but must follow Shakespearean sonnet form: 14 lines of iambic pentameter with an ABAB  CDCD  EFEF  GG rhyme scheme.

A judge from the Folger staff will select the top sonnet in each of three categories: grades 3-6, grades 7-9, and grades 10-12. The overall winner in each category will receive a full set of Folger editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Second place-winners in each of three age categories will receive a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Read the winning sonnets from 2018.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Sonnet submissions must include name, age, school or home school, grade, and contact information and may be e-mailed to tdavis@folger.edu or postmarked by March 27, 2019 and sent to: Folger Shakespeare Library, Attn: Folger Poetry, 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003.

To see past winners, visit our Folgerpedia archive.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can enter?
  • Students in grades 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, teachers, and entire classes.
What is the sonnet form?
  • We are looking for sonnets in the Shakespearean form of 14 lines of iambic pentameter with an ABAB  CDCD  EFEF  GG rhyme scheme. 
What can the sonnet be about?
  • Sonnets may be written on any subject and in any voice, but must follow the Shakespearean sonnet form as noted above.
How do I enter?
Is there a deadline?
  • Yes, March 27, 2019 is the deadline.
What’s a remixed sonnet?
  • A remixed sonnet follows the Shakespearean form above but is created from found or gathered text including Shakespearean text. 
What do I need on my submission?
  • Please include your name, age, grade, email address, school, school address, and title of your sonnet.