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 28)

 


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
1.11.18

 

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: 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
1.10.18

 

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: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £200.  Runners-up (5) - £50.  Norfolk Prize (for a permanent Norfolk resident) - £100.
    Entry Fee : £4 each, £10 for three, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Littoral Press Poetry Competition.  This contest is for full collections of nature, spiritual or environmental poetry. 
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prize: Publication of your collection by Littoral Press as an A5 perfect-bound book with full colour covers and between 50 and 100 pages.  The winner will receive 50 free copies.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
1.10.18

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject and in any style.  Roger Elkin is the judge this time round.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes : 1st - £250.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £15.
    Entry Fee: £4 for one, £7 for two, £9 for three and so on.
    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
1.11.18

 

New Media Writing Prize 2018.  This international contest from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest has been running annually for a few years now.  When it began 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 stories (fiction or non-fiction), the contest is for poems, novels, documentaries and transmedia work.  There are four categories: New Media Writing Prize, Unicorn Student Prize, Dot Award and the What’s New in Publishing Journalism Award.  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 a better idea of what the judges are looking for, you can access previous winners on the website.
    Closing: 30.11.18 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (12pm on 14.12.18) 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 and development support.  Journalism Award - £750.
    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
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
2.11.18

 

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 word forest.  Poems should be limited to 50 lines while short stories can, if required, extend to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £300, £100, and 2 x £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
31.10.18

 

Shepton Mallet Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival is for poems of up to 30 lines on any aspect of snowdrops or the James Allen snowdrop story, or something inspired by the judge’s comments (see website for info).  ‘Let your imagination run riot,’ they say.  At this time of year I think I’m going to have to beat mine with a stick just to wake it up, but I’m sure yours will already be on its feet and raring to go.  There are three age categories: 18 and over, 12 to 17, and up to 11.
    Closing: 13.1.19.
    Prizes: 18 and over - £200.  12 to 17 - £70.  Up to 11 - £50.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £4.  Youngsters - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.11.18

 

Edward Thomas Poetry Competition 2019.  This contest from the Edward Thomas Fellowship is for poems of any length.  They can be in any style and on any subject.  Prize-winning poet Jane Draycott will be judging.
    Closing: 28.1.19.
    Prizes: £150, £50, £50.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.11.18

 

Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition.  This annual contest from Kent & Sussex Poetry Society is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.  The judge, poet Ruth O’Callaghan, will read all submissions.
    Closing: 31.1.19.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 4 x £50.  Winners will be published in the society’s Poetry Folio.
    Entry Fee: £5 each.  Three or more £4 each.
    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
1.10.18

 

Prole Laureate Competition.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes engaging, accessible, entertaining and challenging 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: 31.1.19.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in Prole 28.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    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
1.11.18

 

Open House 2019 .  This poetry contest from the long-running literary magazine The Interpreter’s House is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 28.2.19.  Not open for entries until 2.1.19
    Prizes: £500, £150, £75.
    Entry Fee: £1.75 each, £5 for three, £10 for six.  Winners will be published in the mag and in an Open House Competition pamphlet.
    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
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 .

 


7.11.18

 

Neil Gunn Writing Competition.  This annual international contest from The Neil Gunn Trust and  High Life Highland Libraries has two categories for adults: Poetry and Short Story.  For the former there is a 40-line limit, while the latter has an allowance of up to 2,500 words.  Entries should be inspired by one of the following quotes from the works of Neil Gunn.  ‘Suddenly something came out of the land, some cool shiver of Spring.’ Or:  ‘... at last, all the pieces, the whole pattern.’  Entries, they say, can be in any variety of English or Scots, or a combination of both.  Any variety?  I think they’re asking for trouble there.  The contest also has categories exclusively for Highland Council schools, as detailed on the website.
    Closing: 8.3.19.
    Prizes (in each adult category): £500, £300, £200.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £8.  Only one entry per person per category.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.11.18

 

Poetry on the Lake Festival Competition.  This annual international contest from Italy, now in its eighteenth year, has two categories: Silver Wyvern, for poems of up to 42 lines, and Formal for traditional forms (sonnet, sestina, villanelle, etc) up to 42 lines).  There is no compulsory theme, but there is a separate prize for the best poem in either category that has the theme of ‘Spirit’ (interpret this as you wish).
    Closing: 31.3.19.
    Prizes: Silver Wyvern: 500 euros, 200 euros.  Formal category: 100 euros.  Best ‘spirit’ themed poem in any category - 100 euros.
    Entry Fee (online): £10 for the first, £8 thereafter.  Early bird entries (by 31.12.18) - £6 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.11.18

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.  3rd - 200 euros.  The top 10 poems will be published in the Fish Anthology 2019.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition .  This contest from Winning Writers in the USA is for published or unpublished humorous poems of up to 250 lines.  Before entering, it is advisable to check some of the past winners and judge’s comments (in the Contest Archives), as here you will find information about things the judges frown upon.
    Closing: 1.4.19.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000 plus gift certificate.  2nd - $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    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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