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 (29)

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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
23.7.20

 

Eyelands Book Awards.  This is the third of these international book award contests from literary magazine Eyelands and Strange Days Books in Greece.  There are two categories: Published Book and Unpublished Book.  Acceptable genres are Poetry, Novella, Short Story Collection, Novel, Children’s Book, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel.
    Closing: 20.10.20.
    Prizes: Unpublished Book - Translation into Greek and publication by Strange Days Books.  Published Book - a 5-day holiday in Athens, a special handmade ceramic and publication of extracts online and on the Eyelands website.  Runners-up (10) - Special handmade ceramics.  All winners receive a certificate, ideal for hanging on the wall where your visitors are sure to see it (i.e. next to the drinks cabinet).
    Entry Fee: $22 up to Sept 1st, then $30.
    Comp Page:
Eyelands Book

 


Added
2.10.20

 

Freedom From Torture Poetry Competition.  Poems of any length and in any style on the theme of Resilience are required for this one from the charity Freedom From Torture.
    Closing: 31.10.20 (5pm).
    Prizes: The top poem will be performed by actor Samuel West on his Pandemic Poems radio show.  All winners will be able to film themselves performing their poem (or have it performed for them) and have it broadcast live at the virtual event on November 25 alongside other literary stars.  All winners will be promoted in the press and on social media in the run-up to the event.  In addition, winners will receive a selection of books from various publishers including Penguin and The Folio Society.
    Entry Fee: A £5 donation to the charity.
    Comp Page:
Freedom From Torture

 


Added
1.10.20

 

The Ginkgo Prize.  This international contest is billed as the world’s biggest ecopoetry prize, and I’m quite prepared to accept that it might be, although I have to confess that I’ve done no research on the subject.  If you are running a bigger ecopoetry contest, by all means let me know.  In the meantime, let’s give this one the benefit of the doubt.  Your poem can be any length, so you have a licence to kill (bore ’em to death), but as one of the judges is Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, a particular favourite of mine, I hope you will exercise a measure of restraint.  As well as the main category, there is one for landscape poetry.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Landscape Poem - £500.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.  Entry into the Landscape Poem category is free if you’ve entered the main category.
    Comp Page:
Ginkgo Prize

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Momaya Poetry Competition. This is the third poetry contest from Momaya Press of Bonn in Germany and Roxbury in the USA.  Open worldwide, it is intended to be an annual event.  The theme this year is ‘Touch’, and there is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.10.20.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £20.  Winners along with up to 50 Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Poetry Review.  The three winners will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Momaya Poetry.

 


Added
28.9.20

 

Merky Books New Writers’ Prize.  Merky Books, and imprint of Penguin Random House, is seeking entries from unpublished, under-represented writers in the age group 16 to 30 resident in the UK and Southern Ireland.  They want the ‘stories that are not being heard’.  Your entry can be Fiction, non-fiction or poetry.  For fiction and non-fiction, send a 1,500 word extract and a 200 word synopsis.  For poetry it’s a 500 word extract and 200 word synopsis.
    Closing: 30.10.20.
    Prizes: A book publishing contract with Merky Books.
    Entry Fee: None - Free entry.
    Comp Page:
Merky Books

 


Added
5.9.20

 

Young Walter Scott Prize.  Historical fiction - that’s what this one is all about, but it’s only for those who have no experience of history, by which I mean children and young adults (11 to 15, and 16 to 19).  The fiction can be in any form: prose, poetry, drama, fictional diaries, letters or reportage.  Entries must be made in hard copy, so you may need to seek advice from your parents about the intricacies of the postal service (those red boxes you’ve seen in the streets are not for litter).
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes (in each category): A £500 travel and research grant to explore historical places in the UK, plus a two-day trip to Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland.  Runners-up receive a £100 book token.  Winners and runners-up will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Walter Scott Prize

 


Added
2.7.20

 

Poetry Society National Poetry Competition.  In 1983 Carol Ann Duffy won this contest and 26 years later she became the Poet Laureate.  So if you’re hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is probably not the ideal starting point.  But there are compensations.  The top cash award is one of the best in the business, and the second prize isn’t bad either.  Your poem should run to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.
    Entry Fee : £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
PSNPC.

 


Added
3.8.20

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £15, 3 x paperback copy of SLQ mag.  Prizewinning poems will be published in the mag in print and online.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three, and so on.
    Comp Page:
SLQ Poetry.

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Themed Writing Competition.  This freebie from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for poems of up to 40 lines or stories of up to 500 words inspired by the word ‘course’.  You can of course interpret this theme in any way you choose.
    Closing: 26.11.20.
    Prizes: £10 and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Themed

 

 

 

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
1.9.20

 

New Media Writing Prize 2020.  This international competition from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest, which is open to anyone of any age, has been running annually for a few years now.  When it began in 2011 they explained new media thus: ‘It is the amalgamation of traditional media such as films, images, music and the written word, but with interactive features.’  As well as stories (fiction or non-fiction), the contest is for poems, novels, documentaries, narrative games and transmedia work.  All entries should be written specifically for delivery/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a handheld device such as an iPad, mobile phone or one of the latest electric nose-hair clippers with Internet connectivity.  To get a better idea of what the judges are looking for, you can access previous winners on the website.
    Closing: 27.11.20 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (noon on 18.12.20) as they seldom get up before noon and are bound to miss the first one.
    Prizes: £1,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
NMW Prize.

 


Added
1.9.20

 

Wales Poetry Award.  Poetry Wales is seeking the best in international contemporary poetry for this new award sponsored by Aberystwyth University.  There is no theme.  Entries should run to no more than 70 lines.
    Closing: 27.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £250 and a place on the writing course of your choice at Literature Wales’ Ty Newydd Writing Centre, plus a Seren Book Bundle and publcation in Poetry Wales.  2nd - £50 and books, plus publication in the mag.  3rd - £25 and books and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £5 each or free to UK entrants from low-income households (up to 16k p.a.)
    Comp Page:
Wales Poetry

 


Added
30.9.20

 

East Riding Festival of Words Poetry Competition.  Stop Larkin’ about at the back there, this is serious.  Your task in this one from Philip Larkin country is to write a poem of up to 45 lines on the theme of ‘My companion, my best friend.’  There are two main categories: Adults, and Young Poets (for school age children).
    Closing: 28.11.20.
    Prizes: Collection HQ Prize - £500.  Philip Larkin Society Prize - £250.  East Riding Gold - £200.  East Riding Silver - £100.   Children:  East Riding Primary - £75, £50.  East Riding Secondary - £75, £50.  There are also some Highly Commended prizes of £25 in both categories.  Finally, there is a Prison Prize of a £100 voucher
    Entry Fee: Adults - £4.  Children - free.  Prisoners - free (quick - sound the alarm!).
    Comp Page:
E.Riding Poetry.

 


Added
2.7.20

 

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, is for poems of up to 40 lines in English on any subject.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, and a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, plus hotel and board at the Cork International Poetry Festival (March 2021).  2nd - 500 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  3rd - 250 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  Runners-up (10) - publication in Southword Journal and a fee of 50 euros.
    Entry Fee: 7 euros each, 30 euros for five.
    Comp Page:
Greg OD Poetry.

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Melita Hume Poetry Prize.  This year’s Melita Hume poetry prize from Eyewear Publishing is, as usual, for first full-length collections by a poets aged 35 or under, resident in the UK or Ireland.  To enter, you submit between 48 and 100 pages.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: Publication with a £2,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Melita Hume Prize

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     I discovered your website last year and entered lots of comps - no prizes in 2008. This year I decided just to enter The Trowell and District Writers Trust competitions - again directed from your site and also in the hope of bettering my marks compared to my entries last year.
     I am delighted to say I went along to the Presentation yesterday and received 1st prize in the Open Poetry competition - a lovely certificate, a shield and some prize money.
     I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon which had a "Stand and Deliver" poetry competition as well as a raffle, refreshments, sales of Members poetry, and time to chat and get to know people.
     The comps are great - all entries receive a mark and a short critique - I found all these helpful and encouraging. I feel I have new friends and a lovely day to look back on.
                                                                                -  Kate Brumby

 


Added
30.9.20

 

Charles Causley International Poetry Prize.  A particularly interesting first prize in this one from the Causley Trust.  Even better, the judge is Bafta-nominated, international prize-winning writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE. Alas, he is unlikely to be reading your entry if it extends beyond 40 lines.  You have been warned.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000 and a one-week writing residency at Cyprus Well, Charles Causley’s former home in Launceston.  Runners up - £250, £100, 5 x £30.
    Entry Fee: £7.50 for the first, £5.50 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Causley Poetry.

 


Added
30.9.20

 

Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Cafe Writers of Norwich (where the Man in the Moon was keen to go, according to a report I read as a child) is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £200.  Runners-up (5) - £50.  Norfolk Prize (for a permanent Norfolk resident) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Cafe Poetry.

 


Added
15.9.20

 

Littoral Press Poetry Collection Competition .  This contest is for full collections of nature, spiritual or environmental poetry.  If you don’t have enough of this type of verse for a full collection (50 to 100 A5 pages), you can include others as long as at least 50% is in the specified genre).
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prize: Publication of your collection by Littoral Press as an A5 perfect-bound book with full colour covers and between 50 and 100 pages.  The book will have an ISBN.  You will receive 50 copies.  You will be the sole distributor.  Should you sell your copies and require more, this can be arranged with Littoral Press, or you could have the book printed elsewhere as you retain all rights.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
L.Press Poetry

 


Added
11.9.20

 

The Latin Programme Poetry Prize.  Don’t panic - you don’t have to write in Latin if you don’t want to.  But you do have to take your inspiration from the Latin phrase: ‘de rerum natura’ (on the nature of things).  You have up to 40 lines to work that one out.  The Latin Programme, incidentally, is a registered charity with a mission to improve literacy in London state schools.  The contest judges are Deanna Rodger (writer, performer and facilitator), Blake Morrison (Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths college), and Ella Hickson (award-winning playwright).
    Closing: 1.12.20.
    Prize: £250.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Latin Programme

 

 

 

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
2.7.20

 

Moth Poetry Prize. This annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for poems of any length and on any subject.  I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not devoted to the subject of moths, fascinating though these may be.  It is an arts and literature magazine.  Presumably the name is a reference to the way artists and writers are attracted to the light of recognition only to beat their wings in vain against an invisible barrier until finally, broken and defeated, they slide down to the windowsill of despair.  You’d think the magazine people could have come up with something a bit more cheerful than that, wouldn’t you?
    Closing: 31.12.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 6,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.  Commended (8) - 250 euros.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp.

 


Added
30.9.20

 

Christopher Smart Prize for Poetry.  For this one from Eyewear Publishing you submit a collection of poems in any style and on any subject.  The submission should run to between 48 and 120 pages.  You’ll note that I say ‘run’ rather than ‘plod’.  Don’t bung in a load of no-hopers in a misguided effort to make yourself look more prolific than you are.
    Closing: 31.12.20.
    Prize: $2,000 and publication in the UK and USA.
    Entry Fee: $25.
    Comp Page:
Chris Smart Prize

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Festive Fright Writing Competition.  This freebie from Derbyshire’s Erewash Writers is for poems of up to 40 lines, short stories of up to 2,500 words, and shorter stories of up to 500 words.  The theme is Festive Fright (so you could write about that horrific apparition you saw in the mirror the morning after the office party or similar).
    Closing: 14.1.21.
    Prizes: Short Story - £25 and publication on the website.  Shorter story and poem - £10 each.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Festive Fright

 

 

 

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
10.4.20

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another corker from Ireland. It’s from County Cork to be exact, and it’s for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks).  Entries must feature the five words given on the competition page for that week.  A shortlist of 12 poems will be selected after the final closing date next January, and the winner will be chosen from that.  Ó Bhéal, incidentally, is a weekly poetry event in Cork (and as you probably know, the word itself is Irish for ‘word of mouth’).
    Closing: Every Tuesday at noon until 26.1.21.
    Prizes: 750 euros, 500 euros, 250 euros.  The three winners will be invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s anniversary event in Ireland on 12.4.21, with travel expenses of 100 euros and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 


Added
12.10.20

 

The Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This year’s contest from the University of Chester and Storyhouse has four categories: Short Story (up to 1,500 words), Poetry (up to 100 lines), Children’s Literature (story or poem with length limits as above but aimed at 7 to 14 age group) and Plays (up to 15 minutes, suitable for theatre, TV or radio).   To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say, so if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, I’m afraid you’ve had it ... although it’s possible I’ve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prize (in each category): £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter. You can submit up to 2 entries if they’re in different categories.
    Comp Page:
Cheshire Prize.

 


Added
25.9.20

 

Elmbridge Literary Competition.  Strike up the band! The R C Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Council have decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Albert Hall, so of course the theme of this year’s contest is Albert.  No it isn’t.  It’s ‘Music’. As well as the Adult category (19+), there are various age categories for youngsters.  In the 5-7 age category, stories are limited to 500 words while poems should be no longer than 20 lines.  A word limit of 1,000 applies to stories in the 8-11 and 11-13 categories, while in the 14-18 and 19+ categories it’s 1,500.  Poems in categories other than the 5-7 age group can be up to 30 lines.  The contest is open worldwide.
    Closing: 5.2.21.
    Prizes: Adults 19+ (in each category) - £250, £150, £100.   Children - various amounts in book tokens as shown in the contest T&Cs.  The winning entries in all age categories will be published in a chapbook by publishers Samson Low.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5. Under 18s - free.  Maximum of one poem and one story per person.
    Comp Page:
Elmbridge Literary.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Poetry Competition .  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will again be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.  3rd - 200 euros.  The top 10 poems will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Poetry.

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Holiday Romance Competition.  This freebie from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for poems of up to 40 lines and stories of up to 500 words on the subject of your holiday romance (one you’ve had, one you’re still having, or one you’re hoping to have next time instead of the covid19 and 3-weeks in hospital you got this time.
    Closing: 27.5.21.
    Prize: £10 and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to entry.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Romance

 
  

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

 
  

>>>>>>>>>>>>>   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 2020



Poem:
Being a Writer

 

 

HOME

Comps Novel

Be a Winner

 

Writing Comps

Treasure Hunt

hit
counter