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. 

 
 

3

UK Poetry Competitions (currently (24)

 


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: £7 (includes a short critique).
    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.

 


Updated
30.5.20

 

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020.  ‘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 three poems (total words 3,000 max) for the same entry fee (start each poem on a separate page in the same document).  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: 15.6.20 (5pm). Extended from 1.6.20
    Prize (in each category): £1,000 and publication in the mag.  Winners will also be offered Chapter & Verse or Free Reads mentoring in partnership with The Literary Consultancy.
    Entry Fee: £10.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £16.
    Comp Page:
Wasafiri Prize.

 


Added
4.4.20

 

Canterbury Poet of the Year Competition.  It’s back again: the annual international poetry contest from Canterbury Festival.  As usual, it’s for poems of up to 60 lines.
    Closing: 15.6.20.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  People’s Choice - £25.  Best Read Poem - A bottle of sparkling wine (do not drink immediately, as you might be called upon to do an encore).  There will be an anthology of winners and shortlistees.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Canterbury Fest Poet.

 


Added
25.1.20

 

Segora International Writing Competition.  Now in its 14th year, this contest from Poetry, Prose and Plays is for short stories of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, poems of up to 50 lines, one-act plays with a performance time of up to 35 minutes, and vignettes running to no more than 300 words.  Not many vignette contests about these days.  This is because hardly anyone knows what a vignette is.  You do of course, and in fact you probably have a dozen or so already written.  For the rest, I’ll give by way of enlightenment a definition from Collins: ‘A short piece of writing that clearly expresses the typical characteristics of something or someone.’  You can read last year’s winners for all categories on the website.  Although the promoters are based in France, entries should be in English.
    Closing: 15.6.20.
    Prizes: Short stories - £300, £100, £50.  Poetry - £300, £100, £50.  Vignettes - £100.  Plays - £150, £50.
    Entry Fee: Stories - £8.  Poems - £5.  Vignettes - £5.  Plays - £12.
    Comp Page:
Segora.

 


Added
16.5.20

 

George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Suffolk Poetry Society, a registered charity, is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  To enter ,you will have to buy eligibilty by joining the Society unless you are already a member, or have been born in Suffolk, or work or reside there, or have been educated there. To join the Society, see the entry form.
    Closing: 15.6.20.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Runners-up (2) - £75.  There will be an awards event at which winning and commended poets will be invited to read.  The poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Crabbe Poetry.

 

 

 

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
16.5.20

 

King Lear Prizes.  Did you know that Shakespeare wrote King Lear when plague was sweeping through London?  You did?  Ah, you’re only saying that.  Anyway, this explains the name of this contest.  Supported by AgeUK, it is mainly for people aged 70 or over who are stuck at home because of the novel coronavirus (alas, you can’t enter a coronavirus novel).  There are six categories: Short Story (10,000 words max), Poetry (up to 40 lines), Short Drama (up to 15 minutes), Solo Musical Composition (up to 4 minutes).  The other two are Art (painting, drawing, photography, etc), and Chairman’s Choice (any art form - and this is for people 60 or over).  To be eligible for the writing categories, you have to be unpublished.  For the arts categories, you should not be an active professional.  Gyles Brandresth will be judging the poetry while Julian Lloyd Webber will be lending his ear for the musical piece.
    Closing: 19.6.20.
    Prize (in each category): £1,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
King Lear

 


Added
10.3.20

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions.  Here we have a return of  the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions: Open Poetry, Short Story, Book for Children, 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 35 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 7+ (middle grade or teenage), you need to submit the first three chapters (or first 30 pages, this being the maximum) 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.  Judging the Open Poetry contest will be Jo Shapcott, while Duncan Minshull will be tackling the short stories.  Young Poets will have to impress Adukwei Bully.  Fleur Hitchcock will choose the winning Book for Children.
    Closing: 30.6.20.  Opens for entries April 1st, 2020.
    Prizes: Open Poetry - £1,000, £500, £250; Local - £100.  Short Story, Book for Children (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Additional prizes: Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Book for Children Local Prize - £100.  Young Poets - £150, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee: Adults categories - £6.  Young Poets - £3.
    Comp Page:
Wells Litfest.

 


Added
15.4.20

 

Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition.  This contest from Manchester is for poems of up to 40 lines which are broadly religious or spiritual in nature.  These can be in any style or form.  They should appeal to people who would not normally describe themselves as religious.
    Closing: 30.6.20.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £150.  The top poem will be published in Cathedral News 2020.  There will be a competition anthology featuring the ten best poems.
    Entry Fee: £4.50 for the first, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
MCPC.

 


Added
26.3.20

 

PENfro Poetry Competition 2020.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival team in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on the green theme of ‘Loving the Earth’.  The judge, Adam Horovitz, will read all entries.
    Closing: 1.7.20.
    Prizes: £300, £100.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
PENfro Poetry.

 

 

 

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
13.2.20

 

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 (under 12).  The judge is prizewinning poet Liz Berry.
    Closing: 16.7.20 (5pm).
    Prizes : Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  The prizes for younger entrants were not given on the website when I checked.  All winners will be invited to read at the 2021 Festival.
    Entry Fees: Adults - £5.75 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free, then pay £1.75 each for any additional entries.
    Comp Page:
Ledbury Fest.

 


Added
1.5.20

 

Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry Translation (in association with the Guardian).  How many readers aged 14 and under does the Guardian have, I wonder?  And how many of these translate poetry in their spare time instead of, say, playing computer games that are well good?  Not a vast number, I would have thought, and yet the contest has a category for this group.  That’s probably why the promoters put it on the Internet: there’d be no entries otherwise.  Luckily, adults may also have a go.  To enter, find a poem written by some foreigner and translate it into English (60 lines max), then send it in together with a commentary (up to 300 words) and the original poem.  But first, ask yourself this: Is there really such a shortage of home-produced poetry that we need to ship it in like melons from countries that don’t even speak the lingo?
    Closing: 17.7.20.
    Prizes: Adults - £1,000, £750, £500.  18 and Under - £250, £150, £100.  14 and under - £100.  All winners ‘and any others the judges wish to select’ will be published in a booklet.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £7.  Entry is free if you are 18 or under.
    Comp Page:
Spender Prize.

 


Added
4.3.20

 

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: 31.7.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at a special prize-giving event at Winchester Poetry Day on October 12.  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:
Winchester Fest.

 


Added
4.4.20

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019.  This annual freebie 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, in any style and on any subject, but they must be in English.
    Closing: 31.7.20.
    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 a prize-giving event in October, to which all 100 winners will be invited.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s generally free booze, plus 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:
Foyle Young Poets.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

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.
    Closing: 31.7.20.
    Prizes:  1st - £250.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £15, 3 x paperback copy of SLQ mag.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three and so on.
    Comp Page:
SLQ Poetry.

 


Added
2.5.20

 

Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.  Here we have a return of the annual international poetry contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland.  To enter, you submit 16 to 24 pages of poetry in English.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: 1,000 euros, 500 euros. Winners also receive chapbook publication with 25 complimentary copies.  In addition, both winners will be offered a reading and 3 nights’ accommodation at the Cork International Poetry Festival.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Fool Poetry .

 

 

 

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

 


 

 

Hysteria Writing  Competition.  This freebie is open open to all writers of any age and nationality.  It is for entries in four catergories: Short Story up to 600 words, Flash Fiction up to 100 words, Poetry up to 12 lines, and Under-16s entering any of the aforementioned categories.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: £25 in each category. The winners and nine others will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry. Normally there is a charge but this has been waived due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    Comp Page:
Hysteria Writing

 


Added
2.2.20

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Aesthetica Magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    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:
Aesthetica Award.

 


Added
22.4.20

 

Save As  International Writing Competition.  This international contest from SaveAs Writers of Canterbury in Kent is for poetry of up to 60 lines and stories running to no more than 3,500 words.  The theme is ‘Post Apocalypse’.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
SAW Apocalypse

 

 

 

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
1.6.20

 

Prole Pamphlet Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Prole Books you submit 20 to 40 A5 pages of poetry in any style and on any subject.  They’re looking for work that engages, entertains and challenges. 
    Closing: 16.9.20.
    Prize: £200 and 25 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12 for the first, £8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Prole Pamphlet

 


Added
6.3.20

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University was originally inaugurated to celebrate ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’, of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father for a time ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry category you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 18.9.20 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £18.00.
    Comp Page:
MMU Writing Comp.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Momaya Poetry Competition. This is the third poetry contest from Momaya Press of Bonn in Germany and Roxbury in the USA.  Open worldwide, it is intended to be an annual event.  The theme this year is ‘Touch’, and there is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.10.20.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £20.  Winners along with up to 50 Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Poetry Review.  The three winners will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Momaya Poetry.

 


Added
10.4.20

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another corker from Ireland. It’s from County Cork to be exact, and it’s for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks).  Entries must feature the five words given on the competition page for that week.  A shortlist of 12 poems 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 26.1.21.
    Prizes: 750 euros, 500 euros, 250 euros.  The three winners will be invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s anniversary event in Ireland on 12.4.21, with travel expenses of 100 euros and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 
  

************************************************************************

 
  

>>>>>>>>>>>>>   Books for Writers - Improve your Skills   <<<<<<<<<<<<<

 
  

************************************************************************

 
 
 

*********************************************************************************
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.
 

 
     

Finally, as you sift through the remnants of your shattered dreams and wonder if it’s worth going on ... www.samaritans.co.uk/


Disclaimer

   
For other types of writing contests see the full list on my Writing Comps page.
 


My Humorous             Verse  & Songs                                  

This is the Prizemagic website

Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk

Copyright: Michael Shenton 2020



Poem:
Being a Writer

 

 

HOME

Comps Novel

Be a Winner

 

Writing Comps

Treasure Hunt

hit
counter