Atem in K3.5 million poetry contest


Association for the Teaching of English in Malawi (Atem) is to introduce a K3.5 million national poetry competition.

Atem Interim President, Dave Mpaso, confirmed of the competition yesterday.

“We are targeting 3,000 students across the country and 500 entries each education division. We are still looking for sponsors out there but we are ready with the contest,” Mpaso said.


Atem Public Relations Officer, Frederick Thom, said Atem in pursuance to its vision, mission and objectives, thought of having a poetry contest having temporarily postponed the drama contest due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are calling upon secondary school students in all the Education Divisions across the country to participate and compete in an English poetry writing contest where 30 winners, five from each Education Division will go away with different prizes such as trophies, medals, cash and Atem T-shirts,” Thom said.

He said their main aim as Atem is to develop English language and critical thinking skills in secondary school students in the country as self-quarantine continues in their respective homes.


Thom said the poetry competition will run with the theme ‘Covid-19 kills, I stand to shield myself and my country’.

“Some of the guidelines are that the contestant must be a secondary school student in Malawi, must pay an entry fee deposit of K2,000 to Atem account, the poem must not be more than 20 lines and that the poem must show deep understanding of poetic devices and aesthetic elements of English language,” Thom said.

According to Thom, the competition will run from May 1 2020 to June 15 2020.

“We are serious on this and let me emphasise that no poetry will be processed from participants that have not paid the fee,” he said.

Thom also said that with schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the entries will be submitted through Whatspp.

“We thought this is the only way of sending the entries. The number we are using is 0993929133 or 0999612545,” he said.

The winner will pocket K100,000, trophy and T-shirt with the second and third runner ups pocketing K75,000 and K50,000 respectively.

The fourth and fifth positions will receive K30,000 and K20,000 respectively.

Thom said they will have 30 winners across the country from position one to five in each division and that the school with with more entries will get a package of 10 literature books in the syllabus.

Meanwhile Mpaso, said the Atem drama national final was expected to take place next month but has been postponed.

He said with schools closing they cannot hold the national final and that instead they will come back once the government announces the opening of schools.

“Everything is set for the national final to be held in Lilongwe. We are just waiting for things to normalise,” Mpaso said.

The schools that made it to the national final are Nkhata Bay Secondary School, St John Bosco and Katoto from the Northern Region, St Patricks, St Monica and St Paul Minor Seminary from the Southern Region whereas the Central Region has Mlodza, Zipatso Academy and Likuni Boys.

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