Stiff Competition - the novel

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Page Title: Poetry Competitions

Current UK Poetry Competitions

Stiff Competition - the novel

My Novel


 
 

Despite my success at getting my poetry published (see Verse page), I’ve never won a poetry competition, but I did once win a cash prize for a short story, and then of course I won the Peter Pook Humorous Novel Contest with Stiff Competition, a novel that had previously been rejected by a top publisher for being too funny (see Comps Novel ).  I therefore speak from experience when I say that winning small competitions doesn’t lead to overnight fame.  But having a few such successes to boast about does you no harm when approaching publishers, so if your dream is to get a book of poetry published, this could be the place to begin.  Or maybe you just want to win some prize money.  Note that the judges of poetry competitions seldom have the same tastes as editors and publishers, so in order to get your eye in you need to study poetry competition winners rather than just published poems.

     Below is a list of the most interesting UK poetry competitions I’ve seen recently (entry is not necessarily limited to UK residents).  I’ve done my best to vet them and eliminate the dodgy ones, but I can offer no guarantees.

     Bear in mind that poetry comps with smaller prizes attract fewer entries and are therefore easier to win. 

 
  

UK Poetry Competitions (currently 23)

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition.  This monthly contest from the glossy magazine Writers’ Forum is for poems of up to 40 lines on any thme.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one month automatically go forward to the next.
    Prize: £100 and a Chambers dictionary.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, or £6 if you want a short critique (enclose sae for the critique if entering by post).
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
29.6.17

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize.  This annual contest from Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press is for poetry collections comprising 10 poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing : Annually - end of November.
    Prizes: A publishing contract and 100 copies of the collection.
    Entry Fee: £12 for one collection, £22 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize.  Entries for this one are invited from beginners and established poets. Submit 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually (end of March).
    Prizes (4): A publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 29.6.17

 

Hour of Writes Competition.  To enter this new weekly peer-reviewed contest from Manchester you submit a piece of writing of any type you choose running to no more than 2,000 words. There is a different theme every week.
    Closing: 11pm every Friday.
    Prize: £50 (usually the minimum, they say; prize increases if more entries are received).
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

And now a word from our sponsor.  Hello.  I’m Michael Shenton, creator of this website and author of Stiff Competition, winner of the Peter Pook Humorous Novel Competition.  People who are looking for me through search engines can remember just about everything about the website save its name and, more distressingly for me, my name. They search for ‘Peter Pook author’, ’the man who wrote Peter Pook’, ‘that bloke who won the cars’ and all manner of other odd things, but never ‘Michael Shenton’. The sole purpose of this site is to get my name known in the hope that one day dozens of people will buy my current novel and any others I manage to get published.  So would you all kindly make a note of it.  Michael Shenton.  Thank you.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Dear Michael
   I discovered your excellent site a few months back and entered some of the poetry competitions. I have in all my long years never received a payment for anything I have written, but I today received an email from Cooldog Publications to say I have won second prize in their E-mag Poetry Competition! £50! What a great way to start the new year.
   I just had to write and say thanks to you for the trouble you have taken with your site and how much I appreciate the sense of humour that underpins it.
  This has given me a terrific boost.
                                                                                -  Carol Browne

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’ of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father for a time ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry Prize you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 29.9.17.
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 4.5.17

 

Bedford International Writing Competition .  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £300, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Prize for local residents: Story - £100.  Poem - £100.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.6.17

 

SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition.  This contest from Sentinel Poetry Movement Publications is for full-length collections of poetry in any style and on any subject.  For the first stage of the competition you send in 20 pages of poetry from your full collection.  Note that for this initial stage you must submit your entry under a pen name (one you’ve made up for yourself, not Bic, etc).
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  The three winners will also receive publishing contracts for their collections and 20 copies of their published book.
    Entry Fee: £25 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Prize.  This regular visitor from the USA has now become two competitions in one - the Tom Howard Prize and the Margaret Reid Prize.  The former is for poems in any style, while the latter is for traditional verse as defined on the competition page.  In both cases the line limit is a very generous (some might say extravagant) 250.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $1,500.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $1,500.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $100.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $12.
    Comp Page :
Click Here

 


Added
 4.8.17

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Salopian Poetry Society in Telford, Shropshire, is for poems of up to 80 lines.  Allison Chisholm will be judging.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £150, £100, £30, 10 x £20.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
19.8.17

 

Hammond House International Poetry Prize 2017.  This annual contest from Hammond House Publishing in Grimsby is for poems of any length on the theme of Eternal.  You may in addition to your poem submit a short pamphlet of up to 7 of your other poems in support of your entry ‘to provide the judges with a context for your poem in relation to your wider body of work.’  Well, that’s a first.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes : £250, £50, £25.  The top 25 entries will be published.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

Dear Michael

Just to let you know I’ve been entering writing competitions for several years and this year came second in the 19th Feile Filiochta International Poetry Competition. Hurrah! I probably wouldn’t have heard about it but for your site (and I still don’t know how to say it). I don’t even consider it one of my better poems – but it was free to enter. It just goes to show that literary competition judges have to be very subjective in the end, so it’s worth carrying on even when you don’t feel that confident. Anyway, I’m off to spend my winnings of 500 euros (that’s very nearly £375 in real money). Keep up the good work!
     Here’s a link to the
poem that won the prize.

      All the best - Clare Kirwan

 


Added
21.7.17

 

Troubadour International Poetry Prize.  Time to roll out the old 'grounds for celebration’ pun again.  Yes, it’s the annual contest from Coffee-House Poetry, with its usual generous prizes.  And as usual, it’s for poems of up to 45 lines on any subject.  These lines, take note, must fit on an A4 or US letter size page, so you can forget about having lines that are 200 words long (and if you want to know why, here’s a clue - the judges will be reading all of the submitted poems).  The judges are Imitiaz Dharker and Michael Symmons Roberts.
    Closing: 16.10.17.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also numerous runners-up prizes.  Winners wll be invited to read at Coffee-House Poetry on prize night in November.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

Poetry Society National Poetry Competition.  In 1983 Carol Ann Duffy won this contest and 26 years later she became the Poet Laureate.  So if you’re hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is probably not the ideal starting point.  But there are compensations.  The top cash award is one of the best in the business, and the second prize isn’t bad either.  The thing that makes me uneasy about this one is that the entry form always asks for your ethnic background.  They say this is for statistical purposes only, but I still don’t think it belongs on a competition entry form.  However, I have no complaints about the line limit which is 40.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.  The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.
    Entry Fee: £6.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
29.8.17

 

Flambard Poetry Prize.  This annual contest from the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts is for the best group of five poems.  None of the five poems should exceed 40 lines.  There is no restriction as to style or subject.  To be eligible you must not yet have published a single-authored pamphlet or collection.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5 per group of five poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.7.17

 

NAWG Open Writing  Competition.  This annual contest from the National Association of Writers’ Groups has two categories: short story and poetry.  Stories should be between 500 and 2,000 words, while the poems should have no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.  Winning entries may be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 for a single poem or short story.  You can enter three poems for £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     I discovered your website last year and entered lots of comps - no prizes in 2008. This year I decided just to enter The Trowell and District Writers Trust competitions - again directed from your site and also in the hope of bettering my marks compared to my entries last year.
     I am delighted to say I went along to the Presentation yesterday and received 1st prize in the Open Poetry competition - a lovely certificate, a shield and some prize money.
     I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon which had a "Stand and Deliver" poetry competition as well as a raffle, refreshments, sales of Members poetry, and time to chat and get to know people.
     The comps are great - all entries receive a mark and a short critique - I found all these helpful and encouraging. I feel I have new friends and a lovely day to look back on.
                                                                                -  Kate Brumby

 


Added
27.8.17

 

Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017.  To enter this poetry pamphlet contest from Indigo Dreams Publishing in Devon you submit up to 30 pages of poetry (36 lines max, including breaks).
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes: Two winners will each receive a royalty publishing contract with Indigo Dreams and will receive 20 free copies of their poetry pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £15 per block of poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.17

 

New Media Writing Prize 2017.  This international contest from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest has been running annually for five years now.  In 2011 they explained new media thus: ‘It is the amalgamation of traditional media such as films, images, music and the written word, but with interactive features.’  As well as poetry, they want short stories, novels, documentaries.  All entries should be written specifically for delivery/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a hand-held device such as an iPad, mobile phone or one of the latest electric nose-hair clippers with Internet connectivity.  To get an idea of what the judges are looking for, you can access previous winners on the website.  There are four categories: New Media Writing Prize, Unicorn Student Prize, Dot Award and Corkana Journalism Award.
    Closing: 24.11.17 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (noon on 15.12.17) as they seldom get up before noon and are bound to miss the first one.
    Prizes: The if:book New Media Writing Prize - £1,000.  Unicorn Student Prize - A three-month paid work placement at a leading e-learning company (Unicorn Trading) or £500 cash.  Dot Award - £500.  Corkana Journalism Award (2) - £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 8.9.17

 

Foreign Voices Poetry Competition.  This freebie from Holland Park Press is for poems of up to 50 lines on any aspect of migration.  The publishers don’t have to agree with your point of view, they say, but they want to be ‘touched in some way by your poem, inspired by its imagery.’
    Closing: 30.11.17.
    Prize: £200 and publication in the Holland Park Press online magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
17.9.17

 

Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Cafe Writers of Norwich (where the Man in the Moon was keen to go, according to a report I read as a child) is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.11.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £200.  Runners-up (6) - £50.  Funniest Poem not winning another prize - £100.  Norfolk Prize (for a permanent Norfolk resident) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     I spent a year or so reading all those comments on your website from people who, since consulting your list, seem have won just about every competition going. I read it and thought it must be too good to be true – but worth a try. Then, on my third submission, I have actually gone and won the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry. I am absolutely over the moon, unable to believe it, etc.  Thank you so much.
                                                                                   -  Andy Miller

 


Added
20.8.17

 

Littoral Press Poetry Competition.  This contest is for full collections of nature/spiritual.environmental poetry.
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes (2): Publication of your collection by Littoral Press and 50 free copies.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
27.8.17

 

Taste Short Story Competition.  This freebie from Ouen Press (the pronunciation is given on their home page but you will probably be no wiser) is for gripping stories on the theme of ... I’m tempted to say ‘glue’ but in fact it’s Taste.  Stories should be between 3,000 and 10,000 words
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  Runners-up (2)  - £100.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

The Plough Poetry Prize.  Arr, it be that time again.  The Plough Prize is back for its umpteenth annual appearance.  It comes from the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon.  It is for poems of up to 10 lines (Short Poem) or up to 40 lines (Open Poem) in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is Michael Symmons Roberts.
    Closing: 31.1.18.
    Prizes: I’m tempted to say ploughs, but I think I’ve done that one before.  The prizes are actually quite useful amounts of money: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

Prole Laureate Competition.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes high quality, accessible poetry and prose, is for poems on any subject and in any style.  There are no restrictions on length, although you might like to consider how far it is reasonable to expect the judge to wade through that 5,000-line epic of yours before letting out an anguished cry and writing something obscene on it.  As an occasional poetry judge, the most I have ever managed before turning nasty is 100 lines.
    Closing: 31.1.18.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in Prole 25.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.9.17

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another Corker from Ireland.  Sorry couldn’t resist that.  I’ll start again.  This one from Cork in Ireland is for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks) which feature the five words given on the website for that week.  A shortlist of 12 will be selected after the final closing date next January, and the winner will be chosen from that.  Ó Bhéal, incidentally, is a weekly poetry event in Cork (and as you probably know, the word itself is Irish for ‘word of mouth’).
    Closing: Every Tuesday at noon until the last week of January 2018.
    Prize: 500 euros and an invitation to read at the Ó Bhéal’s event in Ireland, with travel expenses of 100 euro and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euro.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi Michael,
     Thanks for a very useful website. Since finding the contact details on your site, I've won the Txtlit competition twice, and the Write Invite competition four times. With the prize money I'm now entering other competitions. Thanks for keeping us writers posted!
     Best regards, Uta Coutts

 
  

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Notes: Unless otherwise stated in the rules, poetry should be single-spaced.  It is sometimes the case that your name shouldn’t appear on the manuscript. Check the rules.  If you put your name on there after being told not to, you’re out.  Don’t use coloured paper or fancy fonts.  The colour and pizzazz to make you stand out from the crowd should be in the words.  Plain white A4 80gsm paper is the stuff to use, with plain black typing or print.  My preferred font for poetry manuscripts printed on an inkjet or laser printer is Gill Sans in 12 point (13 if I’m not pressed for space).  This gives a clear, dark print that’s easy to read.  Although publishers and agents sometimes demand the feeble Courier font, which comes out on my printers like something produced by a typewriter with an antique ribbon, I’ve never known competition organisers to express any preference.  But as always, check the rules.  Finally, write on one side of the sheet only - unless asked to put your address, etc, on the back.
 

 
     

 


 

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Disclaimer

For other types of writing competitions, see the full list of literary contests on my Writing Comps page.

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My Humorous        This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
     
Verse                Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk               Being a
   & Songs             Copyright: Michael Shenton 2017                  Writer

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