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.

September 2021

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2021

The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition is open for entries until 20 September!

Judged this year by award-winning poet Will Harris, the competition has two categories: Open and English as an Additional Language (EAL). Winners in both categories receive £1,000, with £200 for the runners-up.

The fee for entering is £5 for each of your first three entries and then £4 for every subsequent poem. Entrants may submit a maximum of ten poems, and poems should be unpublished and no more than 50 lines in length.

For more details and to enter, please visit: bit.ly/brookespoetrycomp

DEADLINE: 20 September 2021 

Sentinel Poetry Book Competition 2021

This competition is for a full length poetry collection by a single author in English language, on any theme, in any style up to 86 A4 pages long. Poets of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Three winning collections will be published in 2022. The winning poets will also receive cash prizes.

Judge: Mandy Pannett - author of 'The Daedalus Files' and All the Invisibles.

Entry fee: £25.00

Learn more and enter now at https://spmpublications.com/competitions/spbc2021.html

DEADLINE: 30 September 2021 


PRIZES: 1st £200, 2nd £100, 3rd £75 - all +anthology publication.

Additionally League Against Cruel Sports members will also be eligible for the League Prize  £75 + League goodie bag + anthology publication.


  • Cruel sports in their various forms - includes Trophy and other hunting, shooting, animal fighting.
  • Wildlife in general
  • The natural world
  • The environment.

ENTRY FEE – £5 per poem or £12 for three. You may submit more poems with correct fee.

Full guidelines and submission https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/indigo-wild-nature-award/4595294802

DEADLINE: 30 September 2021 

Manchester Cathedral 600 Poetry Competition 2021

Sharpen your pencil, polish your pen, hit the keyboard, the Manchester Cathedral 600 Poetry Competition is here!  This year celebrates six centuries since the founding of the Collegiate Church which grew into our cathedral. We are celebrating the Cathedral - this extraordinary home of spiritual life and diversity, the beating heart of a vibrant city.

We are looking this year for poems which reflect, express or connect with the Cathedral in some way.  Poems will be short – no more than 15 lines – so that we can make them really visible in the city and beyond.  Poems you submit should be broadly religious or ‘spiritual’ in nature and, like all good religious poetry, appeal to those who might not describe themselves as ‘religious’. We would like to see poetry from different faith traditions, as well as from those struggling to discover a sense of the sacred. Write in any style or form – your poems will be judged solely on their merits as poetry.

And this year, rather than one winner and a lot of hopefuls, we will be simply offering TEN prizes of £100, and publishing the winning poems in a Celebration booklet.

By entering the competition you are agreeing to the terms and conditions. Winners will be announced by email and via the Cathedral's social media accounts on 30 November 2021.

Full submission details on Manchester Cathedral website: www.manchestercathedral.org/mc600-poetry-competition

DEADLINE: 30 September 2021 

The Soldier’s Arts Academy International Poetry Competition 2021

The Soldier’s Arts Academy is delighted to announce its first, international poetry competition. 

We are looking for original, unpublished poems that are influenced by military life. The theme can be interpreted as loosely as you like as long as there is some link back to the military.

The competition is open to all members of the military community, whether you are a serving soldier, a veteran or a relative of a service person/ex service person. You do not need to be a published poet or have tons of experience, just have a go! This is also an international competition, so we welcome entries from across the globe. 

There are two categories for the competition, each with prizes for the winning poem:

Adults (18 years and over)

First Prize: £50 cash prize and a selection of poetry books worth up to £100

Young Person (12 - 17 years)

First Prize: A selection of poetry books worth £50

The winners will be announced at our special prize giving event in October and both winners will have their poems published on The Soldier’s Arts Academy website. 

Further details here.

DEADLINE: 17:00 on 15 September 2021 

October 2021

Waltham Forest Poetry Competition 

The Waltham Forest Poetry Competition is open to all poets based in the UK and internationally. There are prizes for adults and for young poets, plus separate prizes for people who live, work or study in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Main prize for adults: 1st £400, 2nd £200, 3rd £100.

Prize for adults local to Waltham Forest: 1st £50, 2nd £30, and 3rd £20.

Main prize for young poets: 1st £50, 2nd £30, 3rd £20.

Prize for young poets local to Waltham Forest: 1st £50, 2nd £30, and 3rd £20.

Entry fee: From £3 for adults, free for young poets (under 18). 

Poems can be submitted on any theme.

Judge: Joelle Taylor is a former UK slam champion who founded the national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors in 2001 for The Poetry Society and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018.

DEADLINE: 11 October 2021 

Sussex Poetry Competition

Open Competition – Entry is open to anyone over the age of 16 years by the closing date, with links to Sussex – ie has lived, worked, studied or was born here.

Student Competition (Free Entry) – Entry is open to all students with links to Sussex, currently attending courses, up to the closing date of the competition.

Entries may be on any subject provided they are in English and have not previously been published in any form including on the internet.

There are cash prizes and all prizewinners are invited to read on stage at the Sussex Poetry Festival.

DEADLINE: 24 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