Saveas Writers’ International Writing Competition 2021 closes 31st August 2021

Saveas Writers’ International Writing Competition 2021

Best Writing Contests of 2021, recommended by Reedsy


2021 marks the centenary of T S Eliot’s visit to Margate, where he wrote part of The Waste Land while looking out on the sea from the Nayland Rock shelter.

To celebrate Eliot, his work and the views from our coastline, SaveAs Writers launch their annual international creative writing competition, this year asking for poems and short stories on the theme of Horizons. The theme can be literal, figurative, a celebration of views, a reflection on Eliot and his work (The Waste Land itself opened new horizons in poetry) or a broader take on the theme.



Winner: The Canterbury Christ Church University Poetry Prize of £200

Second place: £100

Third place: £50

Judged by Eleanor Perry

Max word count: 60 lines max.


Winner: The University of Kent Fiction Prize of £200

Second place: £100

Third place: £50

Judged by Amy Sackville

Max word count: 3500 words max.



Hands Held: An Agenda Poetry Showcase- Thursday 26th August 7:30pm (online)

An evening of readings from four exceptional poets, curated by Patricia McCarthy, editor of one of the longest-running and most respected literary magazines in the world.


Jane Lovell: is an award-winning British poet whose work focuses on our relationship with the planet and its wildlife. She has been widely published in journals and anthologies in the UK and US and has won the Flambard Prize (2015), the Wigtown Prize (2018) the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize (2020) and the Ginkgo Prize (2021). Her latest book, The God of Lost Ways, was published in 2020 by Indigo Dreams Press. Jane lives in Devon where she is working on an illustrated collection of eco-poems, ‘The Gallery of the Sea’. Her work has been described as poetry that ‘fizzes with acute visual detail, offering a dizzying sense of perspective’ (Helen Mort).

Elizabeth Barton’s work has been published in magazines including  Agenda, Acumen, Orbis, The Frogmore Papers, South and The High Window.  She had a poem shortlisted for the 2020 Enfield Poets’ Poetry Competition and has had poems commended in The Poetry Society’s Stanza Poetry Competition 2020 and in the Elmbridge Literary Competition 2021.  She lives in Surrey where she enjoys taking part in activities with Mole Valley Poets, for whom she is Stanza Rep.  She has an MA in English from Cambridge University and has worked as both a teacher and a volunteer for overseas aid and environmental charities.

Patricia McCarthy: won the National Poetry Competition 2013. She is half Irish and half English. Her formative years were spent in County Dublin and County Wicklow. After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, she lived in Washington D.C., Paris, Kathmandu, Dhaka and Mexico. She was Head of English for several years at Mayfield School, and has lived for many years now in the countryside in East Sussex. Her poems have been/are being widely published in newspapers, journals and anthologies both in the UK and Ireland. She has had several poetry collections published, the most recent being ‘Whose hand would you like to hold’ written during the pandemic. The title poem was The Guardian’s poem of the week. Two more collections are forthcoming soon.

David Pollard has been furniture salesman, accountant, TEFL teacher and university lecturer. He got his three degrees from the University of Sussex and has since taught at the universities of Sussex, Essex and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he was a Lady Davis Scholar. His doctoral thesis was published as: The Poetry of Keats: Language and Experience (Harvester and Barnes & Noble). He has also published A KWIC Concordance to the Harvard Edition of Keats’ Letters, a novel, Nietzsche’s Footfalls and seven volumes of poetry, patricidesRisk of Skin, Self-Portraits and Broken Voices (Waterloo Press), bedbound (Perdika Press), Finis-terre (Agenda) and Three Artists (Lapwing). He has also been published in other volumes and in learned journals and many reputable poetry magazines. Highly recommended for the Forward Prize in 2020. He divides his time between Brighton on the South coast of England and a village on the Rias of Galicia.



Remember the Earth Whose Skin You’re in – Tunbridge Wells Poetry festival August 24th 2021


You’re invited to join us at the King Charles the Martyr church in Tunbridge Wells as part of the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival for a powerful evening of poetry and performance…on Tuesday 24th August at 8pm (£10 tickets from the Festival website)

 Remember the earth whose skin you are which features Roger West, performing a sequence of poems with impressive soundscapes ‘Consider the song of the cicadas’ and Steve Walter performing his long poem Gaia2020, both elegy and tribute to his late parents and Mother Earth.


Sounding notes of warning and love, Gaia 2020 is a moving addition to the rich and expanding literature of ecological concern.’

Carol Rumens, Professor of English Literature, Bangor University.

‘An incredibly thought-provoking poem. As a mental health charity, we are aware of the significance that nature plays in helping people feel better and re-take control of their lives after a mental health crisis. We are as much a part of nature, as nature is a part of us.’

Tunbridge Well’s Mayor’s Charity, Mental Health Resource.

For anyone and everyone concerned for the future of the planet

For more info visit Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival

and www.makingconnectionsmatter.org


The Bay by Rennie Halstead

The Bay

after a painting by Sheena Clover

Mud coloured our lives.
We ate mud, drank mud,
waded through mud to school,
carried sticky clods into the kitchen,
and always the fear of being caught,
held fast at flow tide,
hearing the swash of rising seas
gently splashing, filling
the creeks softly,
remembering Mary
the cockler who wouldn’t listen,
didn’t care, caught
in her desperation
as the tide rose, calm at first,
seeking this death until the cold
bit her back to life,
screaming then for help
and her father watching from his window
waking to the danger,
the white horse shuffled into the shafts,
the cart drawn down the staithe
and he fearful as the waters rose,
knowing how grasping clay
swallowed wheels, and the horse
anchored by the cart’s dead weight,
the quickening of the tide surge, the water
stretching to the cliff
and she only a head above the water,
the horse panicking in the shafts,
cut loose, the cart lost
while he watched the waters rise,
called and called until no answer came,
the screaming cut off and the horse bolting,
him clinging to the neck,
thrown heavily on the cliff path
as the tide smoothed over the bay
and next day, low tide
the ribs of a cart
half drowned in mud.


Rennie writes poetry, flash fiction and reviews poetry for London Grip. He lives in Kent.


Drawn to the Light Press – call for submissions

cropped-aurora-4Drawn to the Light Press is a magazine of contemporary poetry edited by Orla Fay and is published thrice yearly in October, February and June. Orla has a Master’s Degree in Digital Arts and Humanities and formerly worked as the editor of Boyne Berries Magazine. Her poetry has been widely published and placed in many competitions. In October 2020 she published her chapbook Drawn to the Light. Her debut collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry.

The submission period for issue 4 just opened and closes on Tuesday, 31st August at midnight. Please send up to 3 poems of 40 lines or less using Times New Roman 12 font. Poems should be single spaced.


Drawn to the Light Press is not a paying journal and is run purely on love and dedication to poetry.



Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival – August 15th-27th

TWThe Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival was originally conceived and ministered by Sarah Miles of Paperswans Press and the baton was then passed to the current committee in 2020, only for their plans to be scuppered by Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions arising from it.

Now in August 2021 it is up and running again and the full listing is below.

Covid Safety: The Festival offers a mixture of online and face-to-face events. We will work with our venues to ensure that all government guidelines are followed.






Offering a rung: Helen Dewbery on creating the film poem ‘Moonbather’ by Katie Griffiths

In February Katie Griffiths and I met on Zoom to discuss ‘Moonbather’, the poem Katie had suggested we might make into a poetry film. ‘Moonbather’ has the two components that make for a good poetry film: layers and space. I asked Katie to tell me about the poem. (I used to be nervous asking a poet what their poem was about, but it is an obvious question as I want to hear it from the perspective of it being written – even though I will already have my own thoughts on it.)


We discussed the music and I suggested it included some ‘humming’. A month or so later Katie sent me a soundtrack she had been working on. It was in three bits, which recycle, with the chorus lasting a bit longer each time.


I thought this is brilliant, I had developed the idea of a fairy-tale-like setting for the film and Katie’s music was perfect for that. I had read and re-read the lines to the point that I woke up with them in my mind. I did what I usually do, that is to sit in my car in a carpark, the space giving me a different perspective. I looked for the significant lines and visualised the poem, thinking how I could frame it. I broke the poem down to find where the space was, keeping the line breaks but moving the stanza breaks (and then on the timeline I cut the audio track at the points where I had made these breaks). This was an important step but by the final version it was pretty much as it was before.

I headed to an orchard to film but when I got there the footpath had been closed due to bad weather. By chance I came across a nearby woodland where I set up the tripod in several places and panned the camera (I made it appear to be by moonlight in post editing).


I had to return when it was windier to get movement in the top branches of the tall trees. I later discovered that the area was ‘Friary Wood’ which was once a monastic settlement of an order founded in France. That seemed so apt! On the way home from the woods, I came across a stagnant pond – a poem that asks a question might need something reflective (without being too much of a cliché), I thought!

I wanted a human element in the wood and Chaucer Cameron provided this aspect by being filmed against a green screen and moving a little to the soundtrack being played. I also subtly merged the text of Au Clair de la Lune onto the woodland floor towards the end.

At one stage I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I felt I had made two films – one for the poem and another for the music – neither of which were satisfactory alone, and I could not find a way of bringing them together. At that point I copied and pasted to a new timeline, mixed things up a little and worked more freely until I was happy with the result. (There’s a point in most of my poetry films where I think it best to give up – my inner critic doesn’t know about the other timeline thing!)

Katie and I shared some email correspondence about the music which resulted in just the vocals at the start, some adjustments to volume and timing, and a musical round at the end.

Haunting sound effects at the start of the film add mystery, then a lone voice is heard humming, and the volume gradually builds until the first line: “She is slink and fall”. Movement then begins in the forest as shadows appear and fade. There are two turning points in the music and film. The first turn comes two minutes in at “Will you try to save her?”, and the viewer is in effect looking into the reflective surface of the water. The main turn comes at “sister sister shake out your limbs” – the figure is seen in the treetop silhouetted against the moon, the vocal, Au Clair de la Lune, begins and the music moves up an octave and becomes more energetic. At this point the forest changes and becomes a fairy-tale in itself.

Helen Dewbery

Helen Dewbery established Poetry Film Live, an online poetry film journal. Her poetry films have been shown at poetry events and festivals in the UK and internationally. She provides online and face to face training, as well as curating and talking about poetry film at festivals. Helen is co-director of The Big Poetry Weekend in Swindon, UK.

Katie Griffiths grew up in Ottawa, Canada, in a family originally from Northern Ireland.  She came second in 2018’s National Poetry Competition.  Her pamphlet, My Shrink is Pregnant, was a winner in Live Canon’s 2019 pamphlet competition.  She was published in Primers Volume One by Nine Arches Press, and her first full-length collection, The Attitudes, was published in April, also by Nine Arches Press.  She’s a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and Red Door Poets, and is singer-songwriter in the band A Woman in Goggles.

Watch the film trailer for The Attitudes


This Kilt of Many Colours by David Bleiman

Kilt cover[7458]This Kilt of Many Colours is David Bleiman’s first poetry pamphlet, out now from Dempsey & Windle.

50 pages, £8

“Reading David’s poemario transported me to dusty village squares, faint echoes of joyful gatherings still lingering around the tables outside the bars, which had in turn borne witness to violent events that shaped the identity of the people and places explored in this collection. David weaves his personal history with that of his family’s journey, in the weft and weave of the fabric that makes up his sense of self and linguistic identity. The half-remembered melodies and incantations of his grandparents are woven with the hope and tenderness of a lullaby for his own granddaughter. The reader is part of this process of handing down wisdom and words through the generations. There is a sense that as people move on, they bring their words with them unaltered, building linguistic monuments instead of physical ones. Regrets and rituals are half understood but fully felt as the reader is put in the position of the child who participates in ceremonies and hears the family stories repeated without fully comprehending them, layers of meaning gathering over the decades. Languages are expertly woven into the colourful fabric, leaving the reader with a feeling of Heimweh for places we have never visited and for languages we have never spoken. We are all made of stardust…y somos todos polvo de las estrellas. It’s a braw collection that will keep readers searching for a piece of their own identity in the multilingual mix.”

Cate Hamilton, educator, linguist and researcher

Lacquer wood fiddler

In Red Square grannies sweep the snow,
men with hungry eyes
come on the coach,
bribe our driver,
pull wild cats with ear flaps
from a canvas bag.

In the Lenin hills
veterans sell army caps
and all their glory badges
of a worthless war.
I need some trophy trinket
but I will not find you here

but posed and presented,
wood freezing your anguish
in the GUM department store.
Crudely made
you hold your fiddle
in a fingerless fist
and throw back your head
to a pudding bowl hat

and yet your eyes
are closed and ringed
in concentration
and the stubble on your chin
shadows a restless moon.

What is your melody,
my yidl mit’n fidl?
Who inscribed ‘Ayy’ on your base?
Who carved and shlepped you
from your shtetl?

My friend, you need to ask?
The klezmer I play for your ten roubles
is singing in your granny’s voice
and ‘Ayy’ is the cry that falls
from the roof of the burning barn

when the Cossacks ride out
in the morning.



(For a September granddaughter)

Given to light,
September sun
of southern suburbs,
catches the rowan fruits
to feed a song thrush.

As you come in
and where you go,
the rowan tree will care for you
and grow as you shall grow.

In the night, Rowan,
when you and I can’t sleep,
the poem that I planted yesterday
is fruiting clusters,
radiant red
on every branch.

Be deep, enchanting as a tree,
peaceful, persistent as a poem,
stand shelter, smiling at the door
and share your sparkling fruit
with all these hungry birds
who want to sing with you
the winter through.

For further details, including Youtube videos and UK purchases (free of p&p), click here:


To purchase for delivery outside the UK, click here:



An interview with Ronnie Goodyer on Indigo Dreams Publishing and the Saboteur Awards


Chatting to Ronnie Goodyer about IDP and Saboteur Awards wins…

This year you won two categories in the Saboteur Awards – no mean feat. Can you tell me what it means to you to have been voted Most Innovative Publisher?

It was the second time we’d been honoured with this, the first time was in 2017 and it felt just as wonderful. It’s been a difficult time for us all and the indie publishing industry was no exception. Bookshops closed, printers and others with less staff/longer turnaround etc To not only survive this but emerge strongly and with sufficient people thinking we were worthy of their vote just made our hearts sing. We are acutely aware that these awards are mostly down to the energy and enthusiasm of our Indigo community: our Indigo Dreamers must have supported us in droves! We shepherd a team of fantastic poets and it highlights them too, which is terrific and deserved.


What exciting things do you have planned for next year and has this year’s win enticed you down the road less travelled to explore new ventures?

We’ll actually be publishing fewer books than recent years. The pandemic has taught us all to evaluate time, and we will be working on poetry projects that we commission or request, continue as normal with our 3 magazines, and our own writing. Indigo have just published an innovative anthology, Dear Dylan, which not only contained ‘poems after’ Dylan but ‘letters to’ him. What would today’s poets like to say to him? We have a few more ‘different’ ideas along these lines and will also be publishing the second anthology with League Against Cruel Sports (Ronnie is poet-in-residence). We published the first in their near 100 year history.


Your second win was for the collaborative work, Forest more or less which Elton John described as  “a great way to start the weekend”. How did Elton John get to read it(!)

Ah, Sir Elton! Ronnie used to run his own Celebrity Management/Publishing company and often sends books off when he feels people would like them. He has his private address and we sent a copy to him and his partner. He sent a hand-written letter back with extremely kind and personal comments.

And you contribute to the League when a member buys a copy?

 Yes, the League generously mentioned the book on social media and we reciprocated by donating when orders received by members. We’re strong believers in animal rights and welcomed the opportunity to help.

Head over to their site HERE