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 33)

 


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
16.1.18

 

The  Felix Dennis Young Poets Prize.  This contest from the Stratford Literary Festival is for poems of up to 600 words.  It has three age categories: 5-10, 11 to 16, 17 to 21.
    Closing: 26.2.18 (5.30pm).
    Prizes: 17 to 21 - £300.  11 to 16 - £200.  5 to 10 - £100.  Winners will be published in a special Festival book.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry (one entry per person).
    Entry Address (email): info@stratfordliteraryfestival.co.uk
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.12.17

 

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.  Mandy Pannett is the judge this time round.
    Closing: 28.2.18.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Runners-up - £20, £10.
    Entry Fee: £4 for one, £7 for two, £9 for three and so on.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 15.1.18

 

Poets & Players Poetry Competition.  This contest from Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.  The judge is award-winning poet Pascale Petit.  She will be reading all the entries, although possibly not those with 41 lines or more as these will have been pounced upon by a cold-hearted sifter and consigned to oblivion (and serves you right too - I told you it was 40 lines max, but you thought they wouldn’t mind an extra bit in view of the brilliance of the writing).
    Closing: 28.2.18.
    Prizes: £600, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Snapshot Press Book Awards 2018.  This poetry contest from Snapshot press of Ormskirk is for  book-length collections of between 60 and 100 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: 1.3.18.
    Prizes: Publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £18 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
2.11.17

 

The Rialto Nature & Place Poetry Competition.  This contest from the poetry magazine The Rialto, working with the RSPB, is for poems of up to 40 lines which deal with any aspect of nature and place.
    Closing: 1.3.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  2nd - £500.  3rd - A place on a creative writing course at Ty Newyyd Writing Centre.  There are two additional prizes of personal tours conducted by two of the judges, each taking in their favourite wildlife place.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.12.17

 

The Poetry Business New Poets Prize.  If you can arrange to be between 16 and 22, you will be eligible to enter this contest for collections of poems (12 pages).
    Closing: 1.3.18.
    Prizes: 1st and runner-up - a place on an Arvon residential course of your choice in 2018.   Four outstanding poets will receive mentoring, readings and publication in the North magazine.  One of these will receive pamphlet publication by smith/doorstop Books.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    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
1.12.17

 

The Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition.  To enter this annual international contest from The Poetry Business you submit 20 to 24 pages of your poetry.
    Closing: 1.3.18.
    Prizes (4): Publication by smith/doorstop Books, a share of £2,000, a launch reading at The Wordsworth Trust and gift vouchers from Inpress Books, plus publication in the North magazine.  There will also be an opportunity to submit a full collection for possible publication in book form.
    Entry Fee: £28.  Yike.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

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: 1.3.18.
    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.

 


Added
5.12.17

 

Christopher Tower Poetry Prize 2017.  This annual contest from Christ Church, Oxford, is open to full- or part-time UK students between the ages of 16 and 18.  It is for poems of up to 48 lines.  I’ll whisper this year’s theme to you but you must promise not to tell anyone else.  It’s ‘Secrets’.
    Closing: 2.3.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000.  2nd - £1,500.  3rd - £500.  The three winners will be eligible for a place on the Tower Poetry Summer School, and they will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in Oxford.  Three commended entrants will each receive £250.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.18

 

Wicked Young Writer Awards.  Launched by the long-running West End musical Wicked, this annual contest for young writers between the ages of 5 and 25 is for stories, poems, and plays on any subject running to no more than 750 words.  There are six age categories, as detailed  below.  If you are 15 to 25 you can also enter a separate non-fiction category for essays, articles, biographies, reviews or letters.  Michael Morpurgo is an honorary judge of the Awards, and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is a patron - so there is a certain amount of prestige attached to this.
    Closing: 12.3.18.
    Prizes: I know most of you will be too young and pure to be motivated by avarice, but bear with me while I list the prizes for the benefit of the rest.  Winners in the 5-7, 8-10 and 11-14 categories will receive a £50 book token and £100 in books for the winner’s school.  Winners in the 15-17 category receive a £50 book token and a writing masterclass with a professional author.  18-25 category: £50 book token and a self-publishing package from Spiderwise.  All winners will also receive four tickets to see the London production of Wicked, and they will be able to meet cast members after the show.  In the non-fiction category the winner will receive work experience at First News newspaper, shadowing the editor Nicky Cox, MBE.  All finalists will see their work published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
26.10.17

 

A Slim Volume of One’s Own.  This contest from new publisher Hedgehog Poetry Press of Clevedon in Somerset is for collections of poetry in any form and on any subject.  Collections should comprise no more than 40 poems each.
    Closing: 15.3.18.
    Prizes : Publication of your collection, and 100 free copies.
    Entry Fee: £25 for one collection, £45 for two, £60 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
1.12.17

 

Never Such Innocence Poetry & Art Competition.  This International contest from the education charity Never Such Innocence is for children aged 9 to 16.  It is for artwork and poems of up to 40 lines inspired by the First World War. 
    Closing: 16.3.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £400, £200, £100.  Each prize is split 50-50 between the pupil and his or her school.  There are in addition prizes for runners-up.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.12.17

 

Tamworth Litfest Writing Competition.  This contest from Tamworth in Staffordshire is for stories and poems on any subject.  There are three age categories, each having a different word limit as follows: 16+ 1,500 words, 11 to 16 - 1,000 words, Under 11 - 500 words.
    Closing: 31.3.18.
    Prizes: Age 16+ - £100, £50, £25.  Age 11 to 16 - £50,£25, £15.  Age under 11 - £20, £15, £10.  Best entries will appear in an anthology.
    Entry Fee : Age category 16+ - £4.  Other age categories - free entry.
    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
     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
 1.1.18

 

Ver Poets Open Competition.  This annual contest from Ver Poets of St Albans in Hertfordshire is for poems of up to 30 lines on any subject.  Former poet laureate of Nottinghamshire Adrian Buckner will be judging.
    Closing: 1.4.18.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £100.  Winning and selected poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.12.17

 

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 accessed from the Our Contests menu), as here you will find information about things the judges frown upon.
    Closing: 1.4.17.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000.  2nd - $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
2.12.17

 

Binsted Arts Poetry Competition.  This is the third year for this contest from Binsted Arts in West Sussex.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines.  The theme this year is ‘Country’.  Poet Jeremy Page, editor of the Frogmore Papers, will be judging.
    Closing: 9.4.18.
    Prizes: £150, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Red Shed Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from Currock Press of Wakefield is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 28.4.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £100.  2nd - £50.  Shortlisted - £10.  Wakefield Postcode: £25.  There will be an awards event at the Mocca Moocho cafe in Wakefield.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.2.18

 

Ware Poets Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ware Poets of Hertfordshire is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  There is a separate category for sonnets.
    Closing: 30.4.18.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Ware Sonnet Prize - £150.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £12 for four, £3 each thereafter.
    Entry Form and Details (pdf):
Click Here.

 


Added
26.10.17

 

Creative Writing for All Competition .  This contest in aid of the RSPCA animal rescue and rehoming centre in Kempsey, Worcestershire, has two categories: short story and poetry.  In both cases the theme is Cats and/or Dogs.  Stories should be (pun alert!) curtailed at 2,000 words, while poems can run fur as many as 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.4.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £60, £30, £15.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.2.18

 

Grey Hen Poetry Competition.  This contest from Grey Hen Press is for poems of up to 40 lines by woman who are prepared to admit to being over 60.  There is no theme.
    Closing: 30.4.18.
    Prizes : £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
26.1.18

 

Belfast Book Festival Martin Crawford Awards.  This contest from the Belfast Book Festival is for poems and stories by writers who have not yet had a full collection published.  In the poetry category each submission should consist of between 6 and 10 poems, the poems to be no more than 60 lines each.  Stories (one per submission) should not exceed 2,000 words.
    Closing: 1.5.18.
    Prizes: The winners in each category will receive a six-month professional mentorship with editorial advice, plus help to achieve significant breakthroughs both creative and professional.  In addition the winners will receive other prizes which, at the time of writing, had yet to be announced.  Winners will also be invited to read live at the awards celebration one evening during the Festival.
    Entry Fee: £5 for each submission of one story or 6 to 10 poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.12.17

 

Frogmore Poetry Prize 2018.  This annual contest is run by Frogmore Press which was founded in 1983 in the Frogmore tearooms in Folkestone.  Well, what else can you do in Folkestone?  I’ll tell you what: you can fall in the sea - a feat I managed at the age of 8.  Will I ever forget that day?  Unlikely, for I had the misfortune to be rescued by my two sisters.  ‘No, no - let me drown!’ I cried.  ‘I’ll never be able to face my mates again.’  But I had the ice cream money in my pocket and so my pleas were ignored.  I later wrote a poem about the shame of it all but it would have been too long for this contest because it ran to 360 lines.  The line limit here is 40.
    Closing: 31.5.18.
    Prize: 1st - 250 guineas.  Classy.  You also get a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers.  2nd - 75 guineas and a year’s sub to the Papers.  3rd - 50 guineas and a year’s sub.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    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
 2.2.18

 

Bridport Prize.  This international competition from the Bridport Arts Centre is one of the most prestigious writing contests in the British literary calendar.  Everyone in the trade whose mind is not addled by drugs has heard of it, and they will be impressed if you can claim to have won it.  The good news is that winning it is easy.  All you have to do is submit the best poem or short story, the former having no more than 42 lines, the latter running to no more than 5,000 words.  For those who find 5,000 words too tiring to write there is now a flash fiction category for stories of up to 250 words (if that’s too much, consider becoming a poet).  There is also a First Chapter Award (see separate listing below) for a novel opening of between 5,000 and 8,000 words, plus a 300-word synopsis.  Writers from beyond the veil should note that the Bridport rules forbid posthumous entries.  Shame: the awards ceremony would be so much more interesting with a couple of ghosts in attendance.
    Closing: 31.5.18.
    Prizes: In each of the main categories (Short Stories, Poems Flash Fiction) - £5,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also ten runners-up prizes of £100.   The Peggy Chapman Andrews First Novel Award: 1st - £1,000.  2nd - £500. Runners-up (3) £100.  There will be an awards ceremony at the Bridport Arts Centre on Sunday October 20.  Winning entries are usually published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £9.  Short Stories - £10.  Novel - £20.  Flash Fiction - £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.2.18

 

Battered Moons Poetry Competition.  Part of the Poetry Swindon Festival and supported by Arts Council England, this contest is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 31.5.18.
    Prizes: £700, £200, £100, and 4 @ £25.  Winners will be published in the Battered Moons pamphlet.  Losers will simply be battered (metaphorically speaking).  In addition, all prize-winners will be invited to read their poems at the above-mentioned Festival.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.2.18

 

Segora Writing Competition.  This is the twelfth of these contests from Poetry Prose and Plays, which is based in France.  It is for short stories of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, poems of up to 50 lines, one-act plays with a running time of up to 35 minutes, and vignettes of up to 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.
    Closing: 15.6.18.
    Prizes: Short Stories and Poetry - £300, £50, £30.  Vignettes - £100.  Plays - £100.  Wnners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fees: Short Stories - £7 each, £13 for two, £19 for three.  Vignettes and Poems - £5 each for the first, £2.50 each thereafter.  Plays - £12.  Winners will be published on the website.
    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.

 

 

 

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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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 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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