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 (25)

 


Added
4.1.24

 

Poetry Business International Book & Pamphlet Competition.  For this annual contest, now in its 38th year, you submit a collection of your poetry running to no more than 20 pages.
    Closing: 6.3.24.
    Prizes : There are two first prizes of £450 plus a residential writing course and a reading at The Wordsworth Trust.  The winners will be published in The North magazine.  Runners-up (2) will receive £100 and online publication.
    Entry Fee: £29.
    Comp Page:
PB Book & Pamphlet

 


Added
29.2.24

 

Jane Martin Poetry Prize.  Here’s a freebie for poets aged 18 to 30 resident in the UK.  It comes from Girton College, Cambridge.  To enter you submit a maximum of two poems, the total length running to no more than two sides of A4 paper.
    Closing: 15.3.24 (Noon).
    Prizes: £700, £300.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Jane Martin

 


Added
15.2.24

 

Poetry Society Free Verse Prize.  In support of Free Verse: the Poetry Book and Magazine Fair, this contest from the Poetry Society is for poems of up to 48 lines including title, blank lines and stanza breaks.  The judge is Chrissy Williams, poet, editor and comic book writer.
    Closing: 18.3.24.
    Prize : £500 plus publication in Poetry News and the official Free Verse programme.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Poetry Society Free Verse

 


Added
2.1.24

 

Creative Mind Writing Competitions 2024.  This year’s main contest from Creative Mind of Horwich in Lancashire has two categories: stories (up to 900 words) and poems (up to 40 lines).  The theme is Art & Society.
    Closing: 29.3.24.
    Prizes (in each category): £50, £30, £20.  Everyone whose work appears in the competition anthology will receive a free copy and will be invited to the book launch.
    Entry Fee: £4, £7 for two, £9 for three.
    Comp Page:
Creative Mind

 

 

 

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
4.2.24

 

Red Shed Open Poetry Competition.  Here’s a return visit from the annual contest run by Currock Press of Wakefield.  Sponsored by the Mocca Moocho cafe it is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 29.3.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £100.  2nd - £50.  Shortlisted - £20.  Wakefield Postcode: £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Red Shed.

 


Added
4.2.24

 

The Plough Poetry Prize.  Arr, it be that time again.  The Plough Prize is back for its umpteenth annual appearance.  It comes from the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is multi-award-winning poet Roger McGough.
    Closing: 31.3.24.
    Prizes: I’m tempted to say ploughs, but I think I’ve done that one before.  The prizes are actually quite useful amounts of money: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee : £5 online, postal £6.
    Comp Page:
Plough PP.

 

Added
12.12.23

 

Fish Poetry Prize.  Poems of up to 60 line in any style are invited for this annual international contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will again be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.24.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - 300 euros plus a Fish writing course.  3rd - 300 euros.  Ten poems will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024.  The writers will each receive five free copies and will be invited to read at the launch ceremony at the West Cork Literary Festival in July 2024.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros, for the first, 9 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Poetry.

 


Added
12.12.23

 

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize.  Before you clutter up your mind with ideas for poems about caterpillars, let me just point out that the name of this annual contest is not intended to indicate the official subject, although if you wish to go that way, you are free to do so.  The only stipulations are that your poem must be suitable for children aged 7 to 11, and it must be written by an adult.  It can be any length and may have any number of legs, including none.  The Caterpillar, incidentally, is a children’s magazine based in Southern Ireland.
    Closing: 31.3.24.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros plus a weel at Circle of Misse in France.  2nd - 500 euros.  3rd - 250 euros.  The winning poems will be published in the Irish Times online.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros.
    Comp Page:
Catmag Poetry.

 


Added
2.2.24

 

EHP Barnard Spring Poetry Prize.  For this new contest the theme is Travel.  Entries should run to no more than 400 words.
    Closing: 31.3.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus a poem video professionally performed, produced and promoted.  2nd - £75.  3rd - £50.
    Entry Fee: £2.
    Comp Page: Barnard Poetry Prize

 

 

 

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
4.1.24

 

Rialto Nature & Place Poetry Competition.  Any aspect of nature and place is the theme of this annual contest from The Rialto magazine in association with the RSPB, Birdlife International, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and the University of Leeds Poetry Centre.  The judge is Zaffar Kunial.
    Closing: 1.4.24.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Rialto N&P.

 


Added
1.9.23

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition.  This annual freebie from Winning Writers in the USA is for published or unpublished humorous poems of up to 250 lines.  Before entering, it is advisable to read some of the past winning entries.
    Closing: 1.4.24.
    Prizes: 1st - $2,000 plus a gift certificate.  2nd - $500, $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Wergle Flomp.

 


Added
2.2.23

 

The Mairtin Crawford Awards.  Here’s one from the Belfast Book Festival.  Open to residents of Ireland and the UK, it is for poems and stories by writers who have not yet had a full collection of stories or poems, or a novel, published.  In the poetry category, submissions should comprise between 3 and 5 poems of no more than 60 lines each.  Stories (one per submission) should not exceed 2,500 words.
    Closing: 10.4.24.
    Prizes: The first prize winners in each category will receive £500 and an optional ‘Time to Write’ package which includes a 3-night stay at a Bullitt Hotel, Belfast, and 4 days of dedicated writing space in The Crescent.  Runners-up (2) - £250.
    Entry Fee : £6 for each submission of one story or 3 to 5 poems.
    Comp Page:
MC Awards.

 


Added
2.2.24

 

Creative Future Writers’ Award .  Creative Future is seeking entries from poets and fiction writers from underrepresented backgrounds, i.e. those who face barriers due to mental health, disability, identity or social circumstances (you might for instance be a carer).  See the entry page for a comprehensive list.  You also need to be over 18, resident in the UK and not previously published in book form by an established publisher.  If you fit the bill, submit a work of fiction or creative non-fiction of up to 2,000 words, or a poem of up to 50 lines.  The theme in all cases is ‘Reveal’ (a creative prompt, not a requirement).
    Closing: 19.5.24 (11.59pm).
    Prizes: (Poetry) 1st - £75, a Chapter and Verse Mentorship, manuscript assessment and a year’s Being A Writer membership, plus a Faber Academy online masterclass.  2nd - £50 plus other writing-relatesd items.  3rd - £25 plus other Writing-related items.  There are also prizes for fourth place and runners-up.  (Fiction): 1st - £75, a 9-month Curtis Brown mentorship, one year’s Being A Writer membership, Faber Academy Writing a Novel course,  a year’s membership of the Society of Authors.  (Creative non-fiction): 1st - £75 plus mentoring and manuscript assessment, plus Faber Academy’s Memoir and Life Writing course.  2nd - £50, manuscript assessment and an online writing course from Writing Magazine, plus Society of Authors membership.  3rd - £25 plus manuscript assessment and coaching, and a copy of the W&A Yearbook.  There are also prizes for Highly Commended and Commended.  In addition to the main category prizes there are ‘Joint prizes’, presumably so you can smoke away the blues after not winning the top prize.
    Entry Fee: Free to enter or pay what you can (one entry per person in each category allowed).
    Comp Page:
Creative Future.

 


Added
4.2.24

 

Indigo Open Poetry Prize 2023.  Here we have another contest from Indigo Dreams Publishing in Devon.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 22.4.24.
    Prizes: £250, £100, £50.  Plus magazine publication.
    Entry Fee: £5 esch, £9 for two, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
Indigo Dreams.

 


Added
1.12.23

 

Ver Poets Open Competition .  Here’s a repeat of the annual contest from Ver Poets of St Albans in Hertfordshire.  It is for poems of up to 30 lines on any subject.  The judge this year is Merryn Williams.
    Closing: 30.4.24.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £100.  Winning and selected poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £3 each thereafter.
    Comp Page :
Ver Poets.

 


Added
16.10.23

 

Never Such Innocence Poetry Competition.  Here we have a freebie for youngsters between the ages of 9 and 18.  It has four categories - Poetry, Art, Speech and Song - but here I deal only with the first.  Your poem, which should run to no more than 40 lines, must answer the question: How does war affect people’s lives?
    Closing: 24.5.24.
    Prizes: Prizes will be announced later in the competition, they say.  These will include some exciting experiences.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter each of the four categories once.
    Comp Page:
Innocence

 


Added
3.9.23

 

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: 31.5.24.
    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.  Shortlisted poets also get copies of selected Frogmore Press publications, plus publicaion in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Frogmore PP

 


Added
26.1.24

 

Wirral Poetry Festival Open Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 40 lines are invited for this long-running contest from the Wirral where Vikings once settled ... before being moved on by the council following complains of antisocial behaviour.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: Open - £250, 4 x £25.  Wirral Prizes - £100, 2 x £25
    Enry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Wirral Poetry

 


Added
1.2.24

 

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).  There is also a First Chapter Award (see separate listing) for a novel opening and synopsis.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: Short Stories, Poems - (in each category) £5,000, £1,000, £500, and ten @ £100.  Flash Fiction - £1,000, £500, £250, and five @ £100.  Winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £12.  Short Stories - £14.  Flash Fiction - £11.
    Comp Page:
Bridport Prize.

 

 

 

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
1.2.24

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the 23rd 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: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: Short Story - £600, £250, £125.  Poetry - £600, £250, £125.  Novel - £1,250, £500, £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
2.3.24

 

Canterbury Poet of the Year Competition.  It’s back again: the annual international poetry contest from Canterbury Festival.  As usual, it is for poems of up to 60 lines.  Shortlisted poets will be asked to read their work via Zoom at the online awards evening on October 5, but they can if they wish nominate someone else to do this, including one of the judges.
    Closing: 7.6.24.  Opens for entries on 4.3.24.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  All longlisted entries (approximately 35) will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Canterbury Festival Comp

 


Added
1.3.24

 

George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Suffolk Poetry Society, a registered charity, has been running since 1954.  It 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 were born in Suffolk, Norfolk or Essex, or work or reside there, or have been educated there.  I don’t think it will be good enough if you merely identify as having been born in the area even though you were actually born in, say Glasgow, but these days you never know.
    Closing: 14.6.24.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £150.  Runners-up (2) - £100.  There will be an awards event at which winning and commended poems will be read, preferably by their authors.  The poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Crabbe Poetry.

 


Added
6.2.24

 

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.  Award-winning poet Kathy Miles will be judging.
    Closing: 30.6.24.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and 17 runners-up will be published in a future anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Welsh Poetry.

 


Added
29.2.24

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  The writing in question for this contest from Aesthetica Magazine is short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words, and poetry of up to 40 lines.  Submissions can be on any subject and may have been previously published.
    Closing: 31.8.24.
    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
1.3.24

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions .  This annual 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 Songwriting in the form of just lyrics or complete songs.  In all categories the theme is Time.
    Closing: 30.9.24.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, £100, £50.  Poetry - £250, £50, £25.  Script - £500.  Songwriting - £100 in each sub-category, plus the song will be played at the 2025 Literary Festival and released worldwide on the Hammond House record label.  All shortlisted entries in the Story and Poetry categories will be published in the anthology, as will the scriptwriting winners.  There will be a televised awards ceremony (so get your politically correct, virtue signalling acceptance speech ready - and don't forget to thank the train/taxi driver, etc, without whom you wouldn’t be there).
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 

 

 

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

 
  

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

 
  

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

 
 
 

*********************************************************************************
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, etc
 

My Romantic Poetry      

This is the Prizemagic website

Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk

Copyright: Michael Shenton 2024



Poem:
Being a Writer

 

 

HOME

Comps Novel

Be a Winner

 

Writing Comps

Treasure Hunt

hit
counter