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), 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 29)

 


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 - 30 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
11.10.17

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize.  Entries for this open contest from Wales are invited from beginners and established poets. Submit 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually - 31 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.

 


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
16.1.18

 

Secret Attic Competitions.  Here are two free monthly contests from Secret Attic Press, one for short stories of up to 1,200 words, the other for poems running to no more than 28 lines.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prizes (in each category): £10.  Best entries will be published in the monthly magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    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
18.9.18

 

Templar Poetry Pamphlet Awards.  For this quarterly contest from Templar Poetry you submit a selection of your work as a manuscript of between ten and twelve A4 single-sided pages.
    Closing: 24.9.18, 26.11.18.
    Prize: The winner will have his or her entry published in perfect-bound Templar Paperback Pamphlet format and will receive 5 free copies with the option to buy more at a discount.
    Entry Fee: £15.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.18

 

Magma Poetry Pamphlet Competition.  Here’s another contest from the poetry magazine Magma which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.  It is for poetry collections of between 18 and 34 pages.
    Closing: 25.9.18.
    Prize: The winner’s pamphlet will be published and given a launch reading.  The winner and three others will have a poem published in Magma.
    Entry Fee: £22.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.18

 

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: 30.9.18..
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £500, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Prize for local residents: £100 in each category.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Full-time students: £4 each, £8 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    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
21.8.18

 

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: 30.9.18.
    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
15.7.18

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Salopian Poetry Society in Telford, Shropshire, is for poems of up to 80 lines.  Sir Michael Leighton will be this year’s judge.
    Closing: 30.9.18.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50, 5 x £30.  Best Humorous Poem: £50.
    Entry Fee : £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Hammond House International Literary Prize.  This contest from Hammond House Publishing is for short stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, poems of any length, and screenplays of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration).  In all categories the theme is Precious (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).
    Closing: 30.9.18.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £100, £50.  Poetry - £100, £50, £25.  Screenplay - 1st - £25 and the script professionally produced on film and submitted to the AESTHETICA Film Festival.  Runners-up will receive a short trailer of their script.  Shortlisted story and poetry entries (25) will be published in an anthology.  There will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

National Memory Day Poetry Competition.  This year’s contest has two categories.  First there’s the National Memory Day Poetry Prize, sponsored by Literature Works.  Second there’s the Primary Carer Voice Prize sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Society.  This latter category is for writers with direct experience of caring for someone with memory loss.  In both cases the theme is ‘Memory’.  Poems should not exceed 40 lines.
    Closing : 5.10.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £700, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.8.18

 

READ Foundation Writing Competition.  This free contest from education charity The READ Foundation is for inspiring poems, short stories and first person essays running to no more than 500 words.  The theme is ‘My education helped me ...’  Your entry doesn’t have to start with this phrase or use it at any point, ‘but the theme must be felt throughout the work.’
    Closing: 10.10.18.
    Prize: The winning entry will be displayed in hundreds of READ Foundation schools to inspire today’s students.  It will also be published on the website and receive feedback from prize-winning novelist and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts Qaisra Shahraz.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    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
 7.7.18

 

Eyelands International Book Awards.  This contest from the literary magazine Eyelands based in Greece is, as the name indicates, for books.  You can submit a published book or an unpublished book, but in both cases it must be all your own work.  The categories include poetry, novel, novella, and short story collection.
    Closing: 20.10.18 (midnight PST).
    Prizes: Grand Prize (Published Books) - A 5-day holiday in Athens plus a handmade ceramic and online publication of excerpts of your book.  Grand Prize (Unpublished Books) - Publication by Strange Days Books.  There are additional prizes of handmade ceramics and certificates.
    Entry Fee: $30.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 6.5.18

 

Troubadour International Poetry Prize.  Time to roll out the old 'grounds for celebration’ pun again.  Yes, it’s the annual international 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.  This year’s judges are Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott.
    Closing: 22.10.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  2nd - £1,000.  3rd - A week long writing course at an Arvion centre.  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
196.9.18

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Comma Press in Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Scent.  Along with your entry you must submit a covering letter.
    Closing: 26.10.18.
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 6.5.18

 

Momaya Poetry Competition. This is the first poetry contest from Momaya Press of London in the UK and Roxbury in the USA.  Open worldwide, it is intended to be an annual event.  The theme this year is Love and there is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.10.18.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £20.  Winners along with up to 50 Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Poetry Review 2018.  The three winners will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    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
 1.9.18

 

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: 31.10.18.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.  The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.7.18

 

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 Pascale Petit.
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    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
16.7.18

 

Bare Fiction Prize 2018.  This contest from Bare Fiction magazine of Shrewsbury is for poems of up to 40 lines, short stories running to no more than 3,000 words, and flash fiction that reaches its conclusion in 500 words or fewer.  To avoid any misunderstandings, I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not aimed at nudists so you do not need to strip off to write your story ... although if it gets your creative juices flowing, don’t let me discourage you (unless you write while commuting).
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £500, £200, £100, 2 x £25.
    Entry Fees: Short story - £8, flash fiction - £6, poetry - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

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: 31.10.18.
    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.

 


Added
19.9.18

 

Manning’s Pit Poetry Competition.  It doesn’t sound very attractive but it seems Manning’s Pit in Barnstaple, North Devon, is something of a beauty spot with more than its share of wildlife.  It goes without saying that this valuable natural asset to the town is now under threat.  And so this contest aims to raise funds to help save it.  Your task is to write a poem of up to 40 lines about Manning’s Pit or a similar treasured and threatened piece of countryside near a town or village.
    Closing : 30.11.18.
    Prizes: £100, £30, £20.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, is for poems of up to 40 lines in English on any subject.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and a trip to Cork to visit the Cork International Poetry Festival (with 4 night’s accommodation and up to 600 euros travel expenses).  2nd - 500 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  3rd - 250 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  Runners-up (10) - publication in Southword Journal and a fee of 30 euros.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros each, 20 euros for five.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.9.18

 

Wundor Editions Poetry Competition.  Wunder Editions are looking for diverse, disruptive and innovative writers to enter their latest poetry contest.  If you think this is just up your boulevard and you happen to be 16 or over, send in a poem on any subject running to as many words as you think you can get away with before the judge’s eyes glaze over.  This might not be as many as you would wish.  It could have been a long day.  A lot of waffle and padding might have flooded under the bridge.  The judge is turning mean.  And your poem is up next ...
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prize: £500.  The winner and two runners-up will be published on the website.  There is a possibility of publication in print as well.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £10 for six.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.6.18

 

Holland Park Press Poetry Competition.  Here is another contest from Holland Park Press of London.  It is for poems of up to 50 lines on the theme of Brexit.
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prize: £200.  The winner and runners-up will be published in the online magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Moth Poetry Prize. This annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for poems of any length and on any subject.  I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not devoted to the subject of moths, fascinating though these may be.  It is an arts and literature magazine.  Presumably the name is a reference to the way artists and writers are attracted to the light of recognition, only to beat their wings in vain against an invisible barrier until finally, broken and defeated, they slide down to the windowsill of despair.  You’d think the magazine people could have come up with something a bit more cheerful than that, wouldn’t you?
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 10,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
17.9.18

 

Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.  I used to think hippocrates were wooden containers used at the zoo for transporting large herbivores.  Of course I now know that Hippocrates was in fact a great medical poet, and this international contest is obviously being run in his honour.  Poems of up to 50 lines on a medical subject are required.  There are two categories, Open, and Health Professional.  Actually there’s a third category - Young Poets - but as it has a later closing date I’m listing it separately. 
    Closing: 14.2.19.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £500, £250.  Winning poems will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7 online, £10 postal.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.9.18

 

Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine.  This international contest is open to young poets of between 14 and 18.  Poems of up to 50 lines on a medical subject are required.
    Closing: 1.3.19.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winning poems will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £2 each,  £15 for ten.
    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 2018                  Writer

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