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 (26)

 


Updated
 16.2.21

 

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.

 

~
Added
1.2.22

 

International Welsh Poetry Competition.  I know what you’re thinking: you’ll have to write a poem in Welsh for this one.  Not so, because there are only four poets in the entire world who write in Welsh, so the promoters are wisely asking for entries in English.  They’re also asking for no more than 50 lines. These lines can be in any style and on any subject.  John Evans will be judging.
    Closing: 29.5.22.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and 17 runners-up will be published online and in a future anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Welsh Poetry.

 


Added
16.1.22

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the 21st of these annual international contests from Yeovil, the literary capital of the West Country where even the sheep appreciate poetry.  There are five categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel, Children’s & YA Novel, and Unrestricted.  The short stories can run to 2,000 words, while poems should be no more than 40 lines.  Adult Novels have a limit of 10,000 words for the opening chapters and synopsis.  Children’s & YA entries should be no more than 3,000 (opening) words with a 500-word synopsis, and can include one illustration.  The final category is unusual in that it’s for anything you have written - as long as it has ‘the Wow! factor’ (they mean ‘Wow - that’s brilliant!’ rather than, ‘Wow - you’ve really plumbed the depths with that one!’).  Your entry could be a particularly creative tax return, a witty note to the milkman, or that hilariously scathing critique of your former best friend’s novel, etc.
    Closing: 31.5.22.
    Prizes: Short Story - £600, £250, £125.  Poetry - £600, £250, £125.  Novel - £1,250, £300, £125.  Children’s & YA Novel - £600, £250, £125.  Writing Without Restrictions - £250, £125, £75.  In addition there is the Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award for a shortlisted writer living in the Western Gazette distribution area (mainly Dorset and Somerset).  It isn’t worth moving down there however as the prize is only £100.
    Entry Fee: Short Story - £8.  Poetry - £5.  Novel - £14.50.  Children’s & YA Novel - £12.50.  Writing Without Restrictions - £6.
    Comp Page:
Yeovil Lit Prize.

 


Added
1.5.22

 

The Lord Whisky Sanctuary Fund Poetry Competition.  I’ll bet you didn’t know there was such a place as a sanctuary for whisky.  Well, amazingly ... there isn’t, although having seen someone mix cola with whisky, I think there should be.  But this contest ia all about raising funds for an animal sanctuary in Kent.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines on any topic.  There is a special price for a poem or poems on rescue animals or the work of a sanctuary.
    Closing: 31.5.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £200.  2nd and 3rd prizes depend on entry numbers.  Rescue Prize for a peom on a rescue animal or an animal sanctuay and its work - £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Sanctuary Comp.

 

 

 

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
11.12.21

 

Frogmore Poetry Prize.  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 as it ran to 360 lines.  The line limit here is 40.
    Closing: 31.5.22.
    Prize : 1st - 250 guineas.  Classy.  You also get a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers.  2nd - 75 guineas and a year’s subscription.  3rd - 50 guineas and a year’s subscription.  All shortlisted poems will be published issue 100 of The Frogmore Papers.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Frogmore PP.

 


Added
16.1.22

 

Bridport Prize.  This famous 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).
    Closing: 31.5.22.
    Prizes: Short Stories, Poems (in each category) - £5,000, £1,000, £500, and ten @ £100.  Flash Fiction - £1,000, £500, £250, and five @ £100.  Young Writer Award (highest placed writer aged 16 to 25 in any category) - £500.  Dorset award (highest placed Dorset writer in any category) - £100.  Winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £10.  Short Stories - £12.  Flash Fiction - £9.
    Comp Page:
Bridport Prize.

 


Added
2.1.22

 

Anansi Archive Writing Awards.  Here’s a freebie you might like to have a go at.  It comes from the Anansi Archive, a new writing community committed to supporting all levels of literary endeavour.  The contest has three categories: Poetry of up to 500 words, flash fiction of up to 500 words, and short fiction of up to 3,000 words.  There is no theme.
    Closing: 31.5.22, 31.8.22.
    Prizes: Poetry and Flash Fiction - £20, £10.  Short Fiction - £50, £20.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Anansi Awards

 


Added
16.3.22

 

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.  An Awards Evening will be held on October 6 via Zoom.
    Closing: 3.6.22.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Canterbury Fest Poet

 


Added
5.5.22

 

Aurora Prize for Writing.  Writing East Midlands in partnership with the Society of Authors is inviting entries of poetry (up to 60 lines) and short fiction (up to 2,000 words) for its latest international contest.  There is no theme.
    Closing: 13.6.21.
    Prizes (in each category): 1st - £500 and feedback from an editor or leading literary agent on a piece of work of your choice, plus a one-year subscription to the Society of Authors.  2nd - £150.  3rd - A day course of your choice from Writing School East Midlands.
    Entry Fee: £9 for the first, £7 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Aurora Prize.

 


Added
2.4.22

 

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: 20.6.22.
    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: £4.
    Comp Page:
Crabbe Poetry.

 


Added
2.4.22

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions .  Here we have a return of the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions: 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 9+ (middle grade or teenage), you need to submit the first two chapters (or first 20 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.
    Closing: 30.6.22.
    Prizes: Poetry - £1,000, £500, £250.  Short Story, Book for Children (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Additional prizes: Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Local Prize for poetry - £100.  Book for Children Local Prize - £100.  Young Poets - £150, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee: Adult categories - £6.  Young Poets - £3.
    Comp Page:
Wells Litfest.

 


Added
1.4.22

 

Poetry London PrizePoetry London, a magazine with nationwide and international scope despite its title, is seeking poems of up to 80 lines on any subject and in any style.  This year’s judge is Romalyn Ante.
    Closing: 30.6.22.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000 and 4 x £500.  Winner will be published in the magazine.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Poetry London.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.4.22

 

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize.  ‘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: 30.6.22 (5pm).
    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.  Shortlisted entries will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £10.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £16.
    Comp Page:
Wasafiri Prize.

 


Added
6.5.22

 

Wildfire Words Poetry Competition.  ‘Every Breath’ is the theme of this year’s contest from Wildfire Words which aims to raise funds for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.  The contest is open worldwide.  Poems should run to no more than 70 lines, not counting the title or stanza-break lines..     Closing: 15.7.22.
    Prizes: £350, £150, £75, 3 x £25.  Winners will be published in Wildfire Words.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £12 for four (maximum allowed).  Fees are  lower for entries up to 11.6.22.
    Comp Page:
Wild Poems

 


Added
1.4.22

 

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: 31.7.22.
    Prizes : £1,000, £500, £250.  There will be a special prize-giving event on Saturday October 8.  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
1.4.22

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2022.  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.  Well 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: 31.7.22.
    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 25,000 school libraries and poetry enthusiasts.  The 85 commended poets will have their entries published in an online anthology.  There’s other stuff as well, such as membership of the Poetry Society, and goody bags that will hopefully rival those given at the Oscars.  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
2.4.22

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  Here’s one from the Buzzwords poetry group of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.  It is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 27.8.22.
    Prizes: Open - £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Prize (for Gloucestershire residents only) - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £4 each, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 each, £8.70 for two, £11 for three.
    Comp Page:
Buzzwords 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
8.3.22

 

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.  Submissions can be on any subject, say the promoters, but they then more or less cancel that by adding that they are ‘particularly interested in works that reflect upon our ever changing world.’
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prize (in each category): £2,500 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
6.5.22

 

Hysteria Writing  Competition.  This annual contest is open to all writers of any age and nationality.  It has three categories: Short Story up to 1,000 words, Flash Fiction up to 250 words, and Poetry up to 12 lines.  The theme this year is Peace.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes (in each category): £300 and publication in Hysteria.  Nine runners-up will be published the mag.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Hysteria Writing

 


Added
6.5.22

 

Blackness on Sea Poetry Prize.  Here’s a great freebie from The Lobster Pot pub in Blackness on Sea on the Firth of the Forth.  It closes on the seventh of the ninth.  Poems of genuine literary merit are required.  Entries will be posted on the website, anonymously, for all to see.  Poems should contain a mention, not necessarily complimentary, of The Lobster Pot pub and the village of Blackness on Sea.  The contest is open to all.
    Closing: 7.9.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 and a trophy shield.  2nd - £200 and trophy.
    Entry Fee: None - Free to enter.  Multiple entries permitted.
    Comp Page:
Blackness Poetry

 


Added
6.5.22

 

Troubador Poetry Prize.  A poem of up to 45 lines could give you grounds for celebration in this annual competition from Coffee House Poetry of London.  This year’s contest will be judged by Victoria Kennefick and Joshua Bennett.
    Closing: 26.9.22.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Coffee House.

 


Added
4.4.22

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions.  This offering from Hammond House Publishing at University Centre Grimsby is for short stories of between 1,000 and 5,000 words, poems of up to 40 lines, scripts (theatre, radio, short film or TV) of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration), and comedy (sketch: 4 sides of A4; stand-up: 2 sides of A4).  In all categories the theme is Changes (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).
    Closing: 30.9.22.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, £100, £50.  Poetry - £500, £50, £20.  Script - £250.  Comedy - winning scripts performed at the 2023 Festival.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
15.5.22

 

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Prize.  This regular visitor from the USA has now become two competitions in one: the Tom Howard Prize and the Margaret Reid Prize.  The former is for poems in any style, while the latter is for traditional verse as defined on the competition page.  In both cases the line limit is a very generous (some might say extravagant) 250.
    Closing: 30.9.22
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $200.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $12.
    Comp Page:
TH & MR Poetry.

 


Added
1.5.22

 

Bedford Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.22.
    Prizes in each category (Poetry, Short Story, Young Writers): £1,000, £200, £100.   In addition there is the Bedford Short Story & Poetry Prize of £100 (each category) for a local resident, and the  Cygnature Short Story & Poetry Prize for writers aged 25 or under - £100 (each category).  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology (e-book and hardcopy).
    Entry Fee: £7.50 each, £15 for three.  Full-time students: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 
  

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

 
  

>>>>>>>>>>>>>   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 2022



Poem:
Being a Writer

 

 

HOME

Comps Novel

Be a Winner

 

Writing Comps

Treasure Hunt

hit
counter