The Bridport Prize



Closing date May 31st

All entries submitted can be on any subject, and written in any style or form.  However, we do not recommend poems or stories written for children.

Flash Fiction

Judge: David SwannDave_Swann

Word limit: 250 words (no minimum). Title not included.

Entry fee:  £6 for each flash fiction submitted.

Prizes: 1st £1,000, 2nd £500, 3rd £250 + Highly Commended 3 x £25

What is flash fiction?

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some are as low as 250 words (such as ours), while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.

Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, micro fiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction and short short story, though distinctions are sometimes drawn between some of these terms; for example, sometimes one-thousand words is considered the cut-off between “flash fiction” and the slightly longer short story “sudden fiction”. The terms “micro fiction” and “micro narrative” are sometimes defined as below 300 words.

Flash-fiction often contains the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution. However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to remain unwritten – that is, hinted at or implied in the written storyline.

Short Stories

Judge: Michèle Robertsmimi_pic_1

Word limit: 5,000 words (no minimum). Title not included.

Entry fee:  £8 for each short story submitted.

Prizes: 1st £5,000, 2nd £1,000, 3rd £500 + Highly Commended 10 x £50



Judge: Wendy Cope

Line limit: 42 lines (no minimum). Title not included.wendy cope

Entry fee:  £7 for each poem submitted.

Prizes: 1st £5,000, 2nd £1,000, 3rd £500 + Highly Commended 10 x £50

Entry details here


Poetry London Competition

Poetry LondonThe Poetry London Competition 2013 closes on May 1st

The Poetry London Competition, now in its fourteenth year, has become one of the most highly-regarded in the country, attracting many hundreds of entries from across the UK and abroad. We are pleased to announce that in celebration of Poetry London’s 25th anniversary year, we have invited the magazine’s original poetry editor, Pascale Petit, to judge the 2013 competition. Previous judges have included Neil Astley (2012), Paul Farley (2011), Michael Longley (2010), Don Paterson (2009), Kathleen Jamie (2008), and Jo Shapcott (2007). Pascale Petit’s judge’s report and the winning poems are published in the Autumn ’13 issue of Poetry London.

Entrants may submit poems by post OR we will accept entries by email. Please note there are separate instructions for each of these methods below.




Deadline: 1 May 2013

The Poetry London Competition 2013 is now open for entries. This year the judge will be Pascale Petit. Pascale_Petit_credit Kaido Vainomaa

Winners will receive the following prizes:

First Prize £1000
Second Prize £500
Third Prize £200

plus publication in Poetry London

Four commendations will be awarded, of £75 each
Entries must be in English, your own unaided work, and not a translation of another poet. Entries must not have been previously published, in print or online. The maximum length is 80 lines.

Entry fee is £3 per poem for Poetry London subscribers, for non-subscribers £5.

For more details click here


The 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition

The 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition


Get poetical! Details from Gareth Whieldon

Bingo is already rich in tradition when it comes to poetry, with its rhyming number names and the verse-like cadences of the bingo caller in full flow. However, our Poetry part of the Creative Corner is currently looking a bit thin on the ground when it comes to bingo poems.

That’s just not good enough, and we’d like to change that and make it full to bursting with loads of poetry on the subject of our favourite game. That’s why we’ve launched the 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition, to give you the chance to win some nice prizes and us the chance to fill our poetry section with your work for all to enjoy.

Competition Entry Details

Fancy entering? Here’s all you need to know. Please read the terms and conditions thoroughly, to ensure your eligibility to enter the competition and win one of the prizes available.


On offer are the following prizes for the winning entrants:

  • 1st Place – £150
  • 2nd Place – £100
  • 3rd Place – £50
  • All entered poetry will be featured on this site in the Creative Corner Poetry section.

Poetry Theme

The theme for the poetry is “Bingo”.

What you choose to write about is up to you, as long as it is bingo related. It could be a humorous piece, a romantic piece, an emotional response to the act of playing bingo, or whatever comes to mind. It could be about the game itself, the people playing it, the places it’s played, the paraphernalia or whatever, as long as it has a link to the game in all its forms.

We’re not looking for a particular type of poetry either, it could be a ballad, an ode, whatever suits your writing and compositional style.

Poem Length

The minimum length for the poem is 10 lines or 200 words, the maximum length is 40 lines or 1000 words.


All entries must be in English.


Judging will be done by the editorial team of Playing Bingo, a number of whom are published writers and final judging will be decided by our guest judge Fawzia Kane, who’s current collection is available via the Waterloo Press.

Entry Fees

There are no fees as the competition is free to enter (1 entry per person). We would however like to ask that if you do have a blog or a website, that you share a link* to the competition for other budding poets (*completely optional!)

Previous Use

All entries must be original and unpublished (in print, digitally or on the web.) All entries whether winning or not will be published on the Playing Bingo website.

Competition Closing Date

The final date for entries is the 31st of October 2013.

Submitting Your Entry

Please make sure that each entry includes the title of the piece in the file but not your name and details. No more than one entry is allowed per person. All entries must be sent as a Word .doc or .docx file. Please add your name and address details to the email your entry is attached to.

Email entry to: poetry@playingbingo.co.uk


The Christopher Tower Poetry Prize 2013 – closing date March 1st


The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, is once again open for entries, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘The Details’.

Established in 2000, the Tower Prizes are recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for this age group. The first prize is £3,000, with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize-winners. In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges also receive cash prizes.

The entries will be judged this year by poets Bernard O’Donoghue, Carrie Etter and Peter McDonald. At the launch of the latest competition, Carrie Etter said: “I expect ‘The Details” to be a wonderfully fruitful topic. After all, one of the great pleasures of poetry lies in the perfectly precise or unexpected detail. I look forward to such encounters among the submissions.”

The 2013 competition will build on the success of earlier competitions. Previous prizewinners such as Caroline Bird, Helen Mort, Richard O’Brien, Charlotte Runcie, Anna Lewis and Annie Katchinska are now gaining further acclaim in other competitions or within the publishing/ writing world.

The competition is open to all 16-18 year-olds who are in full or part time education, and students and schools can find out more information about the prizes and associated future events at www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize, or email info@towerpoetry.org.uk or call 01865 286591. Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tower-Poetry/101808106554586?ref=hl or @TowerPoetry on Twitter or YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/christophertower1 . The closing date for entries is Friday 1 March, 2013

Notes to editors:

  • Bernard O’Donoghue is a noted contemporary Irish poet and academic. Born in Cullen, County Cork, Ireland in 1945, he moved to Manchester, England when he was 16, where he attended St Bede’s College. He has lived in Oxford, England since 1965. O’Donoghue is currently fellow and tutor in Old English and Medieval English, Linguistics and the History of the English Language at Wadham College, Oxford University. He was previously Reader at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was a colleague of John Fuller and David Norbrook. He supports Manchester City Football Club. In 2006, Penguin Books published O’Donoghue’s new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. O’Donoghue has a wide range of specialities. He has written on courtly love, Thomas Hoccleve and Seamus Heaney. His published poetry collections include Poaching Rights (1987), The Absent Signifier (1990), The Weakness (1991), Gunpowder (1995, which won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry), and Here Nor There (1999), Poaching Rights (1999) and Outliving (2003).
  • Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter obtained her MFA in creative writing and PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine. Since 2001 she has lived in England, where she is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Poetry Review, Stand, TLS, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She has published two collections, The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Award 2010 for the best first collection published in the UK and Ireland in the preceding year, and Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011); she also edited Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). She reviews contemporary poetry for The Guardian and has blogged since 2005 at carrieetter.blogspot.com.
  • Peter McDonald is the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford. His publications include Louis MacNeice: The Poet in his Contexts (1991), Mistaken Identities: Poetry and Northern Ireland (1997), Pastorals (2004) and The House of Clay (2007). His latest volume of poetry Torchlight was published by Carcanet in February 2011.
  • The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes were launched following a bequest to Christ Church which provides for the promotion of the art of writing poetry in English. The prizes aim to encourage the writing of poetry amongst young people in the 16-18 age group by establishing an annual set of prizes for the best poems on a set theme.
  • The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes 2012, on the theme of ‘Voyages’ attracted hundreds of entries from young poets across the country. There were six shortlisted poets who attended a prize-giving ceremony at Christ Church in April 2012, where 17 year-old Sarah Fletcher of The American School in London was named as the overall winner with her poem Papa’s Epilogue. The winner of the second prize was Bethan Smith (South Essex College, Southend-on-Sea) with Balloon-song and the third prizewinner was Millie Guille from St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, Berkshire with her poem Maiden Voyage. 
  • The other short-listed winners were: Hannah Tran (Dalriada Gramar School, Ballymoney, Co.Antrim) with The Sirens Tell their Tale, Lucy Hely-Hutchinson (Benenden School, Cranbrook, Kent) with Postcards, and Jack Whitehead (Wells Cathedral School, Somerset) with The Water Boatman from Veules-Les-Roses. 
  • 31 Longlisted poets from 2012 have agreed to have their poems published on the Tower Poetry website at http://www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize/longlisted-poems-2012


Alicia Stubbersfield

Alicia Stubbersfield The Yellow Table



The Yellow Table, Pindrop Press, 2013

Alicia Stubbersfield is one of the judges for the 2012 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and also co-judges the writing section of The Koestler Trust Arts in Prison prizes for the northern region. She lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University, after living and working in Yorkshire, Wales and Gloucestershire. The Yellow Table is her fourth collection. She has been published in many magazines such as The Rialto, Magma, Smiths Knoll, The North, Ambit and The SHOp. She has read at and run workshops for Ledbury and Aldeburgh Poetry Festivals and for the South Bank Centre.


Gillian Clarke says of her latest collection: The Yellow Table casts an alert eye on the lost and the lonely – the crazy boy pianist, the bright boy who became a drug dealer – in poems jewelled with images that surprise. A statue is someone waking from an anaesthetic; grief is a goldfish ‘quivering’. She conjures the times with period detail – that yellow Formica table, a red windcheater, the smell of shoe polish; the dispersals of divorce and breakage, then repair – life opening like a white peony in her own cupped hands, viper’s bugloss, like ‘splinters of sea, far inland.’ It is a humane collection about human vulnerability.’

Maura Dooley described her poetry as ‘a world in which Marc Chagall, Angela Carter and Stanley Spencer might meet. Her world is witty, moving, affectionate and gaudy yet it is a place where the brilliance of the colours is haunted by what lies in the shadows. Her gaze is unflinching…’

Anne Cluysenaar says ‘It is rare to find a poet like Alicia Stubbersfield for whom real life, its untidy pains and delights and uncertainties are genuine, rich, exquisite material for poetry.’

Hear her read



In this blue dress I am water
eddying round your questions like rocks.

Water freezes,
lets everything slide over its glassiness.

For years our goldfish survived icy winters
by swimming far enough below the pond’s surface.

Under the ice
grief’s small creature still quivers

Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds wins the TS Eliot Prize

Sharon Olds wins TS Eliot poetry prize for Stag’s Leap collection on divorce

Poet Sharon Olds

New York poet unanimous winner of £15,000 prize as judges praise ‘grace and chivalry’ in her writing

Sharon Olds has scooped the TS Eliot poety prize for Stag’s Leap. The title of her collection refers to her husband’s leap for freedom. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe

A series of poems that describe the sharp grief of divorce and the slow, painful, incremental creep of recovery is the winner of the 2012 TS Eliot prize for the best new collection published in the UK and Ireland.

Sharon Olds, the US poet whose work has pushed the boundaries of writing about the body, the emotions, and intimacy, was the unanimous choice of the judges for her collection, Stag’s Leap.

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, chair of the final judging panel, said: “This was the book of her career. There is a grace and chivalry in her grief that marks her out as being a world-class poet. I always say that poetry is the music of being human, and in this book she is really singing. Her journey from grief to healing is so beautifully executed.”

Among the shortlisted poets were fellow American Jorie Graham, and Britons Kathleen Jamie, Deryn Rees-Jones, Julia Copus and Duffy’s opposite number in Wales, Gillian Clarke, the country’s national poet. “It was a really strong shortlist, with so much talent and grace,” said Duffy, “and it was particularly strong in women. We were particularly pleased to have six fantastic books by women.”

Duffy’s fellow judges were the Northern Irish poet-classicist Michael Longley and the poet and editor David Morley.

The “stag’s leap” of the title of the collection refers to Olds’s husband’s leap for freedom – but also, perhaps, her own gradual attainment of a new equilibrium.

The collection operates as what the Observer described as a “calendar of pain”: we begin with her husband’s announcement of his departure while “two tulips stretched/ away from each other extreme in the old vase”, and we wind up years later when “…he starts to seem more far/ away, he seems to waft, drift/ at a distance, once-husband in his grey suit/ with the shimmer to its weave”. There comes a new, if harsh, clarity: “I did not know him, I knew my idea of him.”

The announcement followed readings at the Royal Festival Hall in London from all 10 shortlisted collections.

Two thousand people attended the readings confirming, said Duffy, poetry’s place “as our national art. The other poets on the shortlist were Simon Armitage, Paul Farley, Jacob Polley and Sean Borrodale.

Duffy said she was delighted to see how proficient the poets had become at performing their poetry to a large audience. “Ten years ago I think they would have been muttering into their jacket sleeves,” she said.

Olds, who lives in New York and was born in San Francisco in 1942, received a cheque for £15,000 donated posthumously by Valerie Eliot, who died last year. The shortlisted poets each received £1,000.

The prize is run by the Poetry Book Society and supported by the TS Eliot estate and Aurum, an investment management company.

, chief arts writer. The Guardian, Monday 14 January 2013 19.30 GMT


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.


Lupus UK Poetry Competition

Lupus UK Logo

Closing Date: 30-November-2012

By entering this competition you will be actively supporting this charity.

Details: This competition is organised in aid of Lupus UK, a national charity helping people with the presently incurable immune system illness lupus. Lupus UK currently supports some 6,000 members through their Regional Groups and advise many others on the symptoms prior to diagnosis. The competition is for previously unpublished poems in English Language, on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long (excluding title). Poems entered must not have been posted to any website or blog, and must not be under consideration for publication, or accepted for publication elsewhere.

First Prize: £100.00 ($158.00)

Second Prize: £50.00 ($79.00)

Third Prize: £30.00 ($48.00)

High Commendation Prizes: 2 x £10.00 ($16.00)

Results & First Publication: Results will be announced in our News Blog on 5th January 2013.

Entry Fees: £3 ($5) per poem, £12 ($19) for 5 poems.

Donations to Charity: A third of net entry fees will go to Lupus UK

The Judge: Abegail Morley

Competition Administration: Eastern Light EPM International -organisers of Excel for Charity writing competitions series.

Excel for Charity

excel for charity logo

Enter Online or By Post

To Enter online

(1) Select the number of poems you wish to enter from the PayPal Drop-Down Menu below, click on pay now, and make the applicable payment securely. You will be given a Transaction ID or Receipt Number by PayPal. Make a note of this.

(2) Create a Cover Note titled LUPUS UK POETRY COMPETITION 2012 which should have the Title(s) of your poem(s), your Name, Pen Name (if applicable), Mailing Address, E-mail Address and Telephone Number. YOUR NAME OR ANY OTHER IDENTIFYING MARKS MUST NOT APPEAR ON ANY OF THE POETRY PAGES.

(3) Send your poems, and your Cover Note as Word, or rtf attachments to excelforcharity@easternlightepm.com in the subject line, type LUPUS UK POETRY OCTOBER 2012 followed by your TRANSACTION ID.


Poetry competition tips

With The New Writer‘s November 30th deadline looming I thought I’d post an interview with Bill Greenwell who judged our previous competition – he’s a wise sage.

AM: What do you look for when judging a competition?

BG: Poems with a structure of some sort; coherence; arresting words, phrases and images; a surety of voice; and some indefinable waffle-dust. Poems I have to read at least three times, because I want to. They also have to be well-edited (it’s a sort of etiquette). And some sense of surprise: a feeling that someone has not only written with an element of glee, even wry or dark humour, but has at some point become totally absorbed by what they’re doing.

AM: Some people talk about “a competition poem” – a good all-rounder. Do you think this exists?

BG: It’s probably sensible to know where you hope it will be published, and what kinds of readers are attracted to the poetry of that magazine. But no, not an all-rounder. Quirky poems, as long as they aren’t only quirky, are good. Winning poems are probably not over-crafted, and not overcrowded. I think it’s easier to define a poem that hasn’t a hope of winning. Length isn’t an issue (as long as they’re within the limit!); but maybe a good competition poem is confident enough not to be exactly 40 lines (or whatever) long.

AM: What tips can you offer a poet new to submitting to competitions?

BG: Be yourself. Surprise yourself. Don’t write in crazy fonts (distracting). And make sure you’ve read a lot of poetry from the last decade or so. Some styles do date. The most obvious advice is to make sure you’ve had some poems published somewhere: at least you then know that you’re publishable. Obey the rules (surprising how often they’re broken). And don’t take rejection personally. Peter Sansom had a clever idea: if you submit three or four, put your best one last. It will look a little better in comparison to previous efforts, since your poems will be numbered in the order you submit them, and probably read in that order.

AM: Is it best to submit to smaller competitions at first where you might stand more chance of being noticed, or is it better to grasp the nettle and go for the top prizes?

BG: Start at the top, and work down. It depends how much you’re prepared to invest, of course. It can be an expensive business.

AM: How important do you think it is to have a winning track record in your CV?

BG: Poems are anonymous, so: no. But if you have no CV at all, think about getting one. Competitions aren’t the best place to start.

AM: Thanks Bill.

Bill Greenwell’s first collection Spoof (2005) was published by Entire Photo Here Press, more recently his collections, Impossible Objects (2006) and Ringers (2012) have been published by Cinnamon Press. He’s no stranger to competitions having been a winner or runner-up in the Troubadour, the Kent & Sussex Open (four times!), the Yeovil Open, The Plough, the Devon Open, the Wigtown Open, and the Virginia Warbey. He has also won over 2000 competitions (yes, really!) for parodies and light verse in magazines including The Spectator and New Statesman. In 2004 he won the £5000 Mail on Sunday poetry prize. Phew!

First published in The New Writer Summer 2012


Ledbury Poetry Competition: Young Adults

I want to congratulate all the Ledbury young poets but in particular my three students: Nicole, Phoebe and Lucy. Their hardwork has paid off.  Sorry for being so slow posting this!!


Judge:  This year’s judge for adults, young people and children was Ian Duhig who won the National Poetry Competition twice, and also the Forward Prize for Best Poem; his collection, The Lammas Hireling, was the Poetry Book Society’s Choice for Summer 2003, and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Forward Prize for Best Collection. Chosen as a New Generation Poet in 1994, he has received Arts Council and Cholmondeley Awards, and has held various Royal Literary Fund fellowships at universities including Lancaster, Durham, Newcastle and his own alma mater, Leeds.


First Prize:          Flora de Falbe for Girl

Gothic horror treatment of growing older full of wonderful imagery and turns of phrase.

Second Prize:     Conor McKee for Premature Flight

a Ted Hughes-like realisation of the natural world rendered with powerful and dramatic language.

Third Prize : Nicole Lai for Okay

in contrast to the above, a low-key and poignant poem of lost love


Highly Commended:

Phoebe Boswall

Jonal Corren

Lucy Hely-Hutchinson

Iris Pearson

The winning poems can be read here.