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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 - 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.

 

 

 

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
 1.7.17

 

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
1.10.17

 

Oriel Davies Open Writing Competition.  This one from Oriel Davies Gallery (contemporary art) in Newtown, Wales, is for poems of up to 50 lines or prose of up to 1,000 words, in English or Welsh.  The theme is Water.
    Closing: 4.11.17.
    Prize (in each category): A £50 voucher to spend in Oriel Davies shop.  In case you can’t make it to the gallery in person to spend your voucher, the website shows numerous items available in the shop and it’s possible to buy over the phone.  Winning entries will be featured on the website and read to an audience in February 2018.  All shortlisted writers will be invited to participate in the readings.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.17

 

Writeabridge Poetry Competition.  This international charitable contest, which aims to raise funds for the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, and Clever Fox Press, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.
    Closing: 14.11.17.
    Prizes: £300, £50.  Winning poems will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    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
 6.10.17

 

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: 30.11.17.
    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.  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.

 

 

 

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
 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.

 


Added
21.9.17

 

I Am Me Competition.  This fund-raiser from the People Not Borders charity is for poems of up to 100 words, short stories of up to 1,000 words, and artwork - all of which should ‘explore imaginatively what it is like to be a refugee’.  The contest is open to adults and secondary school pupils.
    Closing: 10.12.17.
    Prizes: As this is for charity, the prizes are small (books written by the judges and, in the art category, a voucher from Birkhamstead Arts & Crafts).  Lord Dubs will be a special guess at the prizegiving.
    Entry Fee: £2 minimum.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
1.10.17

 

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: 11.12.17.
    Prize: The winner will have his or her entry published in pamphlet form and will receive 20 free copies with the option to buy more at a discount.
    Entry Fee: £12 online.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.17

 

Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.  Here is a poetry and short story contest with a difference.  For every entry received, Magic Oxygen Publishing of Dorset will plant a tree in Kenya to create a ‘tropical word forest’.  And when the contest closes each entrant will receive the GPS co-ordinates of their tree.  It is not clear if you will have visiting rights or if you will be able to send your tree a card on its birthday, but you will certainly be able to feel good about helping to restore some of our planet’s lost greenery.  The contest is also funding the building of another new classroom at Kundeni Primary School next to the tropical world forest.  Poems should be limited to 50 lines while short stories can, if required, extend to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £300, £100, and 2 x £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    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.

 


Added
1.10.17

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Ellen Bass will be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros.
    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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