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 32)

 


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
 3.3.18

 

Prole Books Pamphlet Competition.  This poetry competiton from Prole Books of Abergele in Wales is for pamphlet collections of betwee 15 and 35 A5 pages.
    Closing: 30.6.18.
    Prize: £100 and 15 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12 for one, £20 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.18

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions.  Here we have a return of  the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions - Poetry, Short Story, Book for Children and Young Poets.  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 wouldn’t 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 don’t use that microscopic font that’s only suitable for the small print in dodgy contracts).  If shortlisted, you will be asked to submit the rest of your story.  The Young Poets category (for budding bards aged between 16 and 22) requires poems of no more than 35 lines.
    Closing: 30.6.18.
   Prizes: Poetry, Short Story, Children’s (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.  Young Poets - £150, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee: Aduls categories - £6.  Young Poets - £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
22.5.18

 

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: 30.6.18.
    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.  Winners will also be offered a reading and three nights’ accommodation at the 2019 Cork International Poetry Festival.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
14.5.18

 

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.  All right, those are last year’s puns, but the competition is bang up to date (and that’s a new one, boom, boom).  Your poem can be any length, say the promoters, but frankly I don’t think they really mean that.  I reckon that after the first 10,000 words you’re going to be struggling to keep even the most battle-hardened judge interested.
    Closing: 2.7.18.
    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 2018 anthology and 20 will be performed by the Live Canon Ensemble during the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre.
    Entry Fee: £6.50 for one, £12 for two, £15 for three, £20 for five, £35 for ten.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
16.4.18

 

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 Nia Davies, editor of Poetry Wales.
    Closing: 12.7.18 (5pm).
    Prizes: Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ 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 - £5.75 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free and pay £1.75 each for any subsequent entries.
    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
 1.3.18

 

Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2018.  ‘Wasafiri’, according to the website, ‘is a literary magazine at the forefront of mapping new landscapes in international literature.’  Try saying that in Kiswahili, the language from which the magazine’s 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, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’
    Closing: 13.7.18 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £300 and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £6.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £10 and for three it’s £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Grist Competition 2018.  Here we have one from the creative writing department at the University of Huddersfield.  It has the theme of Trouble & Strife A Celebration of Protest.  Ah yes, student protests.  ‘We’re doing a protest at the weekend - are you joining us?’  ‘Too right!  What’s it about?’  Your entry can be fiction of up to 5,000 words or poetry of up to 40 lines - and there’s no use protesting about that.
    Closing: 15.7.18.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £125.
    Entry Fee : £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.6.18

 

PENfro Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on the theme of ‘The Year of the Sea’.  The judge is poet Kathy Miles.
    Closing: 29.7.18.
    Prizes: £300, £125, £75.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.5.18

 

Winchester Poetry Prize .  This annual contest from the Winchester Poetry Festival aims to ‘surprise and delight,’ they say.  However, don’t 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: 31.7.18.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at special prize-giving event at Winchester Poetry Day on October 6.  Winning and commended poems will appear in an anthology.  There is also a prize for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Snapshot Press Chapbook Awards 2018.  This contest from Snapshot press of Ormskirk is for chapbook-length collections of between 8 and 24 haiku, tanka and other short poetry up to 25 lines including any blank lines (prose poems and haibun up to 200 words).  Poems must not have been previously published in a collection.
    Closing: 31.7.18.
    Prizes: Online publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £12 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.18

 

Stroud Book Festival Writing Competition.  This contest from the Stroud Book Festival has two categories: flash fiction of up to 500 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.7.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £500, £250, £100.
    Entry Fee: Flash Fiction - £5.  Poetry - £5 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.5.18

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018.  This one from the Poetry Society is said to be the UK’s largest poetry competition for writers between the ages of 11 and 17.  It certainly attracts a lot of entries.  Over 6,000 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length and on any subject.
    Closing: 31.7.18.
    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 to which all 100 winners will be invited.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s generally free booze.  In addition fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed (best not mention this to your parents).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter more than one poem but they make it clear they don’t want you bunging in any old rubbish to make up the numbers (they put it more subtly than that, but that’s what they mean).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
14.5.18

 

Indigo First Collection Poetry Competition.  To enter this contest from Indigo Dreams Publishing in Devon you submit 15 poems of up to 40 lines each.  The competition is open to poets who have not had a full collection or pamphlet published.
    Closing: 31.7.18.
    Prizes: Two winners will have their debut collection published by Indigo Dreams.
    Entry Fee: £14 per block of poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

The Betjeman Poetry Prize.  This contest in honour of one of Britain’s most popular poets aims to foster creativity in young people.  Young people are apparently between 10 and 13, these being the age limits for the competition.  Old at 14, eh?  Too many crafty cigarettes behind the bike sheds, I reckon.  Entries should be on the theme of Place.  The place, say the promoters, ‘could be a country, a den at the end of the garden, Granny’s house or a hedge at the back of the school.’  They want to know what it means to you.  ‘It’s where I chill, innit?’ will not be sufficient.  There is no line or word limit. The judges are Scottish Makar Jackie Kay and poet Zaffar Kunial.
    Closing: 31.7.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 for the winner and £5,000 for the English Department at the winner’s school, or the winner’s local library.  The winner and two runners-up will each receive four Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lisle.  The runners-up also get £200.  There will be £50 each for Highly Commended entrants.  There is in addition a prize draw for teachers who manage to bully their classes into entering.  The top 50 poems will be printed in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    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
10.4.18

 

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: 31.7.18.
    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
 1.5.18

 

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: 31.7.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus a Writers Bureau course.  Runners-up (2) - £50 plus a year’s membership to the Association of Freelance Writers.
    Entry Fee: £5 for four limericks (or fewer if you can’t manage four), then £1 for each additional entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  Two categories in this one from Oxford Brookes University: Open, and English as a Second Language.  If you are a young Internet user/texter who only seems to have English as a second language, then you should enter the Open category.  Whichever category you choose, your poem should run to no more than 50 lines.
    Closing: 6.8.18 (11pm).
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee: £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  This contest from Buzzwords Poetry of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 25.8.18.
    Prizes: £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Resident Prize - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £4 for one, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 for one, £8.70 for two, £11 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 9.5.18

 

SaveAs Writers Gothic Writing Competition.  To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Save As Writers of Canterbury are running an international contest for poems and stories in the Gothic tradition.  They want you to chill them to the bone, they say.  You are allowed up to 60 lines to do this with poetry or 2,500 words with prose.  If that isn’t enough, get your monster costume on, go to Canterbury and jump out on them when the leave one of their meetings.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: Poems - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.3.18

 

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: 31.8.18.
    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
19.6.18

 

Link Age Southwark Writing Competition.  Link Age Southwark is celebrating its 25th anniversary with this contest for poetry and short stories.  The theme is Friendship and/or Generations.  Entry is open to residents of the UK and Ireland only.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes: Adult - £200, £150, £100.  Children - three prizes of book vouchers.
    Entry Fee: Adults (18+) - £5.  Children - Free.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Franze Wright Prize for Poetry.  Here’s another contest with good specs from Eyewear Publishing.  It is for full collections of poetry.  Manuscripts should be between 48 and 120 pages.
    Closing: 6.9.18.
    Prize: $2,000 and publication by Eyewear Publishing.  The book will be distributed in the UK and USA.
    Entry Fee: $15.
    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
 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
 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 and they are unlikely to be equipped with magnifying glasses).
    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
 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.

 


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 .

 

 

 

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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