Poetry Competitions

Below is a list of UK poetry competitions, organised by the date of their submission deadline.

If you are running a competition which you would like to be added to the list, please email the details to us at listed@poetrylondon.co.uk.

May 2021

Live Canon 2021 Collection Competition

We consider a collection to be 35+ poems, but if the poems are particularly long (or short) please use your judgment. A collection is generally over 40 A5 pages.

£12 entry fee.

Three winners will receive a publication contract with Live Canon.

For more details head to livecanon.co.uk.

DEADLINE: 14 May 2021 

Live Canon 2021 International Poetry Competition

For poems of any length.

Entry fee is dependent on the number of poems submitted, from £6.50 for a single poem.

Top prize is £1,000. 

For more details head to livecanon.co.uk.

DEADLINE: 21 May 2021 

New Beginnings

Over the last year we’ve been living in a suspended state of fear and confusion, and we are all fed up. Political discourse has been toxic, relationships strained, and it feels as though we need some sort of ‘goal’ – something to look, or work, towards.

New Beginnings is a poetry competition seeking to celebrate this theme of New Beginnings, open to all those who feel their voice was silenced in 2020 – from anyone in the world, any age. We want the resulting anthology – scheduled for September – to be a celebration of the end of the toxic aspects of 2020 and the pandemic, to be a glimmer of hope for the future and a manifesto for change.

Entry cost: free

Open to: anyone who feels their voice was silenced in 2020. Anywhere in the world, any age.

Poetry length: up to 100 lines or 750 words, only one (must be previously unpublished) poem per applicant.

1st prize: £200
2nd prize: £100

Special mentions at the judges’ discretion.

Judges: author and poet Miriam Halahmy, writer and head of communications at the National Theatre Denise Rawls, US publisher Hannah Fields and Bristol Pride Poet Laureate Tom Denbigh.

All of the poems on the shortlist will be published in a volume, and everyone included will receive a copy of the book, and will be invited to take place in an online launch event.

Further details at: renardpress.com/new-beginnings-poetry-competition/

DEADLINE: 21 May 2021 

Nature and the Ecological Emergency International Poetry Competition 2021

Beaver Trust is delighted to announce its inaugural International Poetry Competition on the theme of “Nature and the Ecological Emergency”. We are continually inspired and moved by people’s creativity and love of nature. This competition is about exploring new ways to think about nature and our connection with it, whether through the engaging, humble beaver, the wide range of emotions brought about by the ecological emergency, our recovery and resilience building, or any other aspect of nature and ecology.

Beaver Trust is working in association with Resurgence magazine, who will print the winning entry and feature the other prize winning poems online.

Poems are invited that deal with any aspect of nature and the ecological emergency.

Judge: Terry Gifford

1st prize: £150 and publication in Resurgence magazine

2nd prize: £50

3rd prize: £25

A further prize will be awarded for the best poem with a theme of beavers at its core – £100 – plus a Plasticine beaver made by renowned model-maker Jim Parkyn, of Aardman and Shaun the Sheep fame.

All winners will also be offered the opportunity to visit the inspirational Cornwall Beaver Project (as featured on the BBC’s Spring and Winter Watches) for a guided beaver walk. There is no time restriction to this prize, it can be taken when convenient. Please note This prize does not include the cost of travel or accommodation.

Further details here.

DEADLINE: 31 May 2021 

June 2021

The Julian Lennon Prize for Poetry

The first Julian Lennon Prize for Poetry is open for original, previously unpublished poems in English, on any subject, in any style up to 40 lines long. There is full creative license for writers with some influence from the themes of environment / nature / conservation of life (open to the poet's interpretation) as the competition is in support of The White Feather Foundation.

The competition is open to residents of the UK and Ireland. 

Prizes: £1,000, £500, £200 with commendable entries also being chosen.

Judges: Julian Lennon, Jehane Markham, Sean Street.

Julian Lennon will have final decision over the winning entries.

Fees: £10 for the first poem and £5 for each poem thereafter. Deadline: Midnight on June 5th 2021 (World Environment Day).

Full details are available at www.folklorepublishing.co.uk.

DEADLINE: Midnight on 5 June 2021 (World Environment Day)

Creative Future Writers’ Award 2021

Judges: Dorothy Koomson, Joelle Taylor, Aki Schilz (The Literary Consultancy), Sarala Estruch (Poetry School)

Submission: 1 poem, maximum 42 lines

Entry Fee: Free

Prizes: Publication, support, and £10,000 in cash/professional development (manuscript assessments, courses, guides, subscriptions)

The 2021 Creative Future Writers’ Award is now open for entries from UK writers from under-represented backgrounds—those who lack opportunities due to mental health, disability, health, and from working class, LGTBQIA+, and Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. This year's theme is ‘Essential’—in uncertain times, what matters most?

Further info here.

DEADLINE: 6 June 2021 

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition 2021

This is the 15th year of the Competition which is widely respected and forms a major part of the Festival year.

All poems entered are registered, numbered and then judged totally anonymously. From the entries received around 35 poems will be chosen for the long list and these are published in an anthology; copies will be available from the Festival Office. From these a shortlist of poems is then selected, any of which may be the winning poem.

The first prize for the Poet of the Year is £200, with £100 for second and £50 for third places.  There are also prizes for the People’s Choice - £25 - and the Best-Read Poem receives a bottle of sparkling wine.  The winners will be announced at the Awards Evening which is planned for National Poetry Day, 7 October 2021, Covid guidelines allowing.

The fee for entry is £5 per poem and please don’t forget to send your poems with an entry form

Full details at: canterburyfestival.co.uk/poet-of-the-year-competition-2021

DEADLINE: 11 June 2021 

Crabbe Poetry Competition 2021

First Prize: £600
Second Prize: £300
Third Prize: £150
plus Two Highly Commended Prizes of £75

All winning poems (including commended poems not attracting a monetary prize) will be read, preferably by their authors, at a celebratory Awards Event in October 2021 and will be published in the 2021 Crabbe Poetry Prize Anthology.

Adjudicator: Anne-Marie Fyfe

Entry fees: £3 for each poem.

The competition is open to anyone who was either born, educated, working or resident in Suffolk, or is a Suffolk Poetry Society member.

Full details https://suffolkpoetrysociety.org/shop/competition/crabbe

DEADLINE: 15 June 2021 

August 2021

Briefly Write Poetry Prize

The Briefly Write Poetry Prize celebrates and rewards bold, succinct writing.

Enter one well-crafted poem up to 10 lines. Entry is free and open to all. There is a prize fund of £50.

Prize and commended poems will be published online. Each winning author will also have the chance to be featured on the website.

Full details and entry form at Briefly Write Poetry Prize.

DEADLINE: 8 August 2021 

SaveAs International Creative Writing Competition

2021 marks the centenary of T S Eliot’s visit to Margate, where he wrote part of The Waste Land while looking out on the sea from the Nayland Rock shelter. To celebrate Eliot, his work and the views from our coastline, SaveAs Writers launch their annual international creative writing competition, this year asking for poems and short stories on the theme of Horizons. The theme can be literal, figurative, a celebration of views, a reflection on Eliot and his work (The Waste Land itself opened new horizons in poetry) or a broader take on the theme.


Winner: The Canterbury Christ Church University Poetry Prize of £200
Second place: £100
Third place: £50

Judged by Eleanor Perry
Max word count: 60 lines max.

Winner: The University of Kent Fiction Prize of £200
Second place: £100
Third place: £50

Judged by Amy Sackville
Max word count: 3500 words max.

Entry fees
£3 per poem £8 for three
£4 per short story £10 for three

Further details here.

DEADLINE: 31 August 2021 

October 2021

The Bedford Competition

Opens 1 May

Short stories up to 3000 words, poems up to 40 lines, on any theme; extra categories for young people 17-25 and special prizes for Bedford residents. TBC is a non-profit group, all net proceeds going to Schoolreaders, Bedford to help children ‘catch up’, and  King’s Arms Homeless project.  

Short story judge: Patrick McGuinness

Poetry judge: Anne Berkeley

Prizes: £1,000, £200 and £100

Entry fee: £7.50 or 3 for £15

Students, £5 or 3 for £10

Full details at www.bedfordwritingcompetition.co.uk

DEADLINE: 31 October 2021