2012/13 International Book and Pamphlet Competition


The 2012/13 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition

“One of the career milestones for very many poets of note has been winning the prestigious Poetry Business competition.” — Anne-Marie Fyfe


The 27th annual Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition is now open for entries.

JUDGE: Simon Armitage.

DEADLINE: Last post on 29 November 2012, or online by midnight on 1 December.  EXTENDED! Last post on 18 December, or online by midnight on 19 December*

ENTRY FEE: £25, or £20 for North subscribers, Friends of the Poetry Business and members of the Poetry Society. A £1 surcharge is applied to online entries.

The Book & Pamphlet Competition invites entrants to submit a collection of 20-24 pages of poems for the chance to win a cash prize and publication by Smith/Doorstop Books.

Four first stage winners are selected and given the opportunity to submit a full-length manuscript to the second round of the competition, in which one of them can win book publication. The three first-stage winners receive pamphlet publication.

All four winners will receive an equal share of £2,000, and have a launch reading at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere (Spring 2013) and read alongside Simon Armitage at the 2013 Off The Shelf Festival in Sheffield.

The judges

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in Marsden, Yorkshire, and is Professor of Poetry at Sheffield University. He has published ten collections of poetry including Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid (Faber & Faber) and his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Death of King Arthur. His awards include one of the first Forward Prizes, The Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song-writing in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings. He is also a playwright, novelist, regular broadcaster. His most recent prose memoir was his epic Pennine Way book, Walking Back Home.

Ann and Peter Sansom are directors of The Poetry Business and editors of The Northmagazine and Smith/Doorstop Books.  Ann’s publications include Romance and In Praise of Men & Other People (Bloodaxe) and Peter’s include Writing Poems (Bloodaxe) andSelected Poems (Carcanet).

The Sheffield Poetry Prize

The Sheffield Prize category was launched in 2008, to mark the Poetry Business’s move to Sheffield. The best single poem from each collection submitted by an entrant with a Sheffield postcode is automatically entered into the Sheffield Prize category, for the chance to win £100 and publication in The North magazine.

The University of Sheffield Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The Sheffield Poetry Prize is sponsored by the University of Sheffield Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Previous winners

'Exploring the Orinoco' was a winner in the 2009 Competition

The winning collections are beautifully produced, widely promoted, reviewed in high quality poetry magazines and nationalnewspapers, and entered for all eligible awards and prizes. The collections are also launched at high profile readings and distributed via bookshops across the UK.

Consequently, many previous years’ competition winners have gone on to achieve glittering careers; including Mimi Khalvati, Michael Laskey, Patrick McGuinness, Allison McVety, Pascale Petit, Kathryn Simmonds and Catherine Smith.

In the words of Anne-Marie Fyfe, the Book & Pamphlet Competition has been “one of the career milestones for very many poets of note”.

Daljit Nagra:

“The publicity and reviews took my work seriously and I gained exposure in the PBS and the broadsheets. All this was entirely unexpected and absolutely thrilling. I still feel so excited to have been picked up by S/D at an early stage of my writing life.”

Michael Laskey:

“It was a wonderful boost of confidence for me, winning the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. It felt like a justification of the time I spent writing and an encouragement to keep going. It was the original and only pamphlet competition back then, and so it felt particularly significant — that being judged anonymously on a group of poems, not just a single one.”

Read more from the previous winners here.

*This year’s Book & Pamphlet was launched very late, and we know that many people were struggling to get their manuscripts together on time as a result. As a result, we decided to extend the deadline.

Peter Daniels

Peter Daniels: Featured Poet


In the yellow water pail
two blue mice are floating.
They splashed through my sleep
last night, and I ignored them.

On the porch, three more mice
lie in the bottom of a dry pail,
withered, with a few old leaves,
and a scattering of droppings.

One mouse looks nibbled,
keeping the others alive
to chase the walls a while
inside the plastic drum.

How long before they died?
We could lie in wait and
count how many fall in:
but simpler to set some traps.

I throw the crisp mice out,
and this morning’s two
wet and bloated ones,
with the water they drowned in,

scrape out the bucket of dried
mouseturds under the pump:
remember tonight
to keep the lid down on the water.


Peter Daniels has twice won the Poetry Business pamphlet competition, in 1991 and 1999, and came first in the 2002 Ledbury, the 2008 Arvon, and the 2010 TLS and Ver Poets competitions. He returned to pamphlets with Work & Food from Mulfran Press in 2010, and Mr Luczinski Makes a Move is forthcoming from HappenStance in 2011. As well as his own poems he is working on translations from the Russian of Vladislav Khodasevich. Peter lives in Stoke Newington, London.