Stiff Competition - the novel

My Novel

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), Iíve 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 doesnít 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 Iíve seen recently (entry is not necessarily limited to UK residents).  Iíve 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 30)

 


Updated
  4.5.16

 

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

 


Added
30.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize.  This annual contest from Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press is for poems of up to 40 lines.  Your entry should consist of 10 poems.
    Closing : Annually - end of November.
    Prizes: £300 plus a publishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 30.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prizes.  Entries for this one should comprise 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually - end of March.
    Prizes : 4 x publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 27.1.15

 

Hour of Writes Competition.  To enter this 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.

 


Added
 31.3.15

 

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week.  This one from American website Cultured Vultures (ĎWe eat your wordsí) is open to all comers and is for poems of any type.  To enter you submit three plus a short bio.
    Closing: Weekly.
    Prize: Publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

And now a word from our sponsor.  Hello.  Iím 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 ĎPeter Pook authorí, íthe man who wrote Peter Pookí, Ďthat bloke who won the carsí and all manner of other odd things, but never ĎMichael Shentoní. 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
22.5.17

 

Erewash Writers Writing Competition.  This contest from Erewash Writers of Long Eaton in Derbyshire is for writing of any type on the theme of Books.  You are allowed up to 5,000 words but this will cost you more than if you limit your entry to 2,500 or 500.
    Closing: 29.6.17 (noon).
    Prizes: 1st - Publication on the website, a choice of book from the list on the website, and free entry into the Open Short Story Competition.  Five further winners will be published on the website and will be able to choose prize from the list.
    Entry Fee: Up to 500 words - £2.  Up to 2,500 words. - £3.  Up to 5,000 words - £6.  A cash donation to charity will be made from any profit from entry fees.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
13.3.17

 

Battered Moons Poetry Competition.  Part of the Poetry Swindon Festival and supported by Arts Council England, this contest is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: £700, £200, £100, and 4 @ £25.  Winners will be published in the Battered Moons pamphlet.  Losers will simply be battered (metaphorically speaking).  In addition, all prize-winners will be invited to read their poems at the above-mentioned Festival.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

TLM Poetry Competition 2017.  This international contest from the UKís oldest literary journal, The London Magazine, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The magazine was first published in 1732, they say, and has hosted poetry from the likes of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.  On the strength of this they claim it is the countryís most prestigeous literary journal, but it hasnít been graced by any of my immortal lines so I should take that claim with a pinch of salt (Iíve never sent them anything, but thatís no excuse).
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: £500, £300, £200.  Winners will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £10 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hello Michael
     Just writing to let you know that my poem was "Highly Commended" in a Poem Pigeon contest I found on your site. This was pleasing to me, but what was even better was to become part of such a friendly, hospitable group. Every one is so supportive of and kind to each other. They put up some pretty good poems too.
     Best wishes
                                                                                -  Penny Turner

 


Added
22.5.17

 

Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition.  For this international contest from the Munster Literature centre in Ireland you submit 16 to 23 pages of poetry.  The contest is open to published and unpublished poets but at least one of the winners will be unpublished (no chapbook or book published previously).  Poems can be in verse or prose.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros and your manuscript published as a chapbook, with 50 free copies.  2nd - 500 euros and your manuscript published as above, with 50 free copies.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.17

 

Wells Festival of Literature Writing Competition.  Here we go again with the famous Wells Litfest and its three competitions - Poetry, Short Story and Book for Children.  I should mention before we go any further that we are talking about Wells in Somerset, not Wells in Norfolk which also has an annual litfest (I wouldnít want you turning up at the wrong event to receive your prize or to berate the judges for not awarding you anything).  Anyway, back to business.  For the Poetry you are allowed up to 40 lines, while the Short Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.  For the Book for Children, which must be suitable for children aged 9+, you need to submit the first three chapters plus a synopsis brief enough to fit two sides of a page (and donít use that microscopic font thatís only suitable for the small print in dodgy contracts).  If shortlisted, you will be asked to submit the rest of your story.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: Poetry, Short Story, Childrenís (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Additional prizes: Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Hilly Cansdale Local Prize (for poetry) - £100.  Book for Children Local Prize - £100.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.3.17

 

Prole Books Pamphlet Competition.  This poetry competiton from Prole Books of Abergele in Wales is for pamphlet collections of no more than 35 A5 pages.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prize: £50 and 15 copeis of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12.

 

 

 

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
28.5.17

 

Live Canon International Poetry Competition.  Have a shot at this one and you could soon be having a ball with a thousand pounds to spend (okay, even by my standards thatís a crummy pun, but I didnít sleep well last night).  Your poem can be any length, say the promoters, but frankly I donít think they really mean that.  I reckon that after the first 10,000 words youíre going to be struggling to keep even the most battle-hardened judge interested.
    Closing: 1.7.17.
    Prize: £1,000.  There is also £100 for the highest placed poet living studying or working in the London Borough of Greenwich.  Fifty poems will be published in the 2017 anthology, and 20 will be performed by the Live Canon Ensemble during the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
30.4.17

 

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ledbury in Wales is for poems of up to 40 lines.  It has three age categories: Adult (18 and over), Young People (12 to 17), and Children (11 and under).  The judge is prize-winning poet Fiona Sampson MBE.
    Closing: 13.7.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writersí Centre for Wales.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.   12-17 category - £100, £50, £25.  11 and under category - £25, £15, £10 (all in book tokens).
    Entry Fees: Adults - £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free and pay £1.50 each for any subsequent entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.5.17

 

Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017.  ĎWasafirií, according to the website, Ďis a literary magazine at the forefront of mapping new landscapes in international literature.í  Try saying that in Kiswahili, the language from which the magazineís title comes.  Now, you are probably thinking that the magazine itself must hail from Africa, but this is not so.  It was born at the University of Kent in 1984, and as far as I know it has no African connection at all.  Nor, I might add, has the contest.  This has three categories (Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing) and is open to anyone anywhere in the world who has not published a complete book in their chosen category.  The word limit for the Fiction and Life Writing is 3,000.  In the poetry category, you can submit up to five poems for the same entry fee (use separate pages).  You can enter more than one category, but only once each.  Incidentally, Ďwasafirií, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means Ďcultural travellerí.
    Closing: 14.7.17 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £300 and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £6.  If you enter two separate categories itís £10 and for three itís £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

PENfro Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines based loosely on a myth or legend.  The judge is poet, performer, educator and editor Susan Richardson.
    Closing: 30.7.17.
    Prizes: £300, £125, £75.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

Bradford on Avon Arts Festival Poetry Competition.  Here we have a poetry contest with a line limit of just 20 on the theme of Flights of Fancy.  Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their entries at prize-giving event at the festival.
    Closing: 30.7.17.
    Prizes: £500, £150, £100.  There are in addition prizes for local entrants.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Winchester Poetry Prize.  This contest from the Winchester Poetry Festival aims to Ďsurprise and delight,í they say.  However, donít try to surprise and delight them with a short story or a photo of your cat dancing in a tutu.  Stick to a poem of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at special prize-giving event at Winchester Poetry Day on October 14.  Winning and commended poems will appear in an anthology.
    Entry Fee : £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Dear Michael

Just to let you know Iíve been entering writing competitions for several years and this year came second in the 19th Feile Filiochta International Poetry Competition. Hurrah! I probably wouldnít have heard about it but for your site (and I still donít know how to say it). I donít even consider it one of my better poems Ė but it was free to enter. It just goes to show that literary competition judges have to be very subjective in the end, so itís worth carrying on even when you donít feel that confident. Anyway, Iím off to spend my winnings of 500 euros (thatís very nearly £375 in real money). Keep up the good work!
     Hereís a link to the
poem that won the prize
      All the best - Clare Kirwan

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

Green Alphabet Writing Prize.  This contest from Flipside, the East Anglian literary and arts festival, is for inspirational writing about the environment.  This can be poetry or prose, the former having a line limit of 40, the latter a word limit of 500.  You have to choose a letter from the alphabet and use it in some way in your green piece of writing.  There are two categories: Adult and Under 16.  I bought a Ďbag for lifeí five years ago and itís still going strong.  However, over the years Iíve used a whole roll of duct tape patching it up.  Does that count as green?
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: Adult: £500.  Under 16: £200.  Runners-up will receive Waterstones vouchers.
    Entry Fee: Adult - £3.  Under 16 - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
 30.4.17

 

David Burland Poetry Prize 2017.  This international contest, now in its tenth year, is for poems of any length in any style.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Runners-up - a copy of Michel Francois and Friends .  The winning writers will have their work published in the anthology: Poetic Art.
    Entry Fee: £8 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017.  This one from the Poetry Society is said to be the UKís largest poetry competition for writers between the ages of 11 and 17.  It certainly attracts a lot of entries.  Over 7,600 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length and on any subject.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: The top 15 winners will be invited to attend a week-long residential writing course at a prestigious Arvon Centre, or they will receive mentoring from a professional poet.  The top 15 poems will be published in a print anthology which is sent out to over 20,000 school libraries and poetry enthusiasts.  The 85 commended poets will have their entries published in an online anthology.  There will be an awards ceremony in London on National Poetry Day.  Iíve been to some of these events and thereís generally free booze.  Fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed too.  Best not mention this to your parents.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter up to six poems but they make it clear they donít want you bunging in any old rubbish to make up the numbers (they put it more subtly than that, but thatís what they mean).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.4.17

 

Artificium Short Fiction & Poetry Prizes.  This one from Artificium, a journal of new fiction and poetry, has two categories: Short Story and Poetry.  The former is for stories of up to 4,000, while the latter has a line limit of 40.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £350, £75, £50.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £9 for two, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
14.5.17

 

WB Limerick Competition.  This contest from Writers Bureau is for limericks.  Not much more I can say really ... although your entry does have to be your own work.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus a Writers Bureau course.  Runners-up (2) - £50 plus a yearís membership to the Association of Freelance Writers.
    Entry Fee: £5 for four limericks (or fewer if you canít manage four), then £1 for each additional entry.
    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 Ė 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
11.6.17

 

SaveAs Writers - Love and Freindship Competition.  Here we have an international contest commemorating the 200th anniversary of the year of Jane Austenís death.  It is for poems of up to 60 lines and stories running to no more than 3,500 words on any aspect of the authorís life and works.  ĎLove and Freindshipí, incidentally, is the title of a story Austen wrote for her family when she was 14.  The spelling is hers, and it seems the error went uncorrected because she had her wordprocessorís spellchecker switched off at the time.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Short Story - £4 each, £10 for three.  Note that for online entries you are required to add a 50p admin fee per entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
14.3.17

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Asthetica magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prize (in each category): £1,000 plus other writing related prizes.  Finalists will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.
    Entry Fee: £18 for fiction, £12 for poetry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

Overton Poetry Prize.  Here we have an annual contest from Loughorough University for sequences of poems running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing:  1.9.17.
    Prizes: The winning entry will be published as a chapbook by the universityís Lamplight Press.   The winner receives 50 copies of this.  Two runners-up will receive £50 each.
    Entry Fee: £12 per sequence of poetry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.1.17

 

Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This contest from the University of Chester is for a piece of writing for children (age range 7 to 14), either in prose or verse, the former having a word limit of 1,500, the latter a line limit of 100.  To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say.  So if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, Iím afraid youíve had it ... although itís possible Iíve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 1.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded, but the precise details were not revealed to me at the time of writing.  The best entries will be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Making Waves Poetry Competition.  This contest from Falmouth Poetry Group is for spoken word poems.  These are to be entered on digital sound files with a duration of up to 200 seconds. The poem can be spoken by someone other than the writer if required and it is even possible although not obligatory to have other participants including musicians.  Well, itís different.
    Closing: 3.9.17.
    Prizes: £600, £250, £150.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates Ďthe substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchesterí 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 youíve 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

 

 

 

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 shouldnít appear on the manuscript. Check the rules.  If you put your name on there after being told not to, youíre out.  Donít 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 Iím not pressed for space).  This gives a clear, dark print thatís 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, Iíve 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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Finally, as you sift through the remnants of your shattered dreams and wonder if itís worth going on ... www.samaritans.co.uk/

 


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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