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.

July 2021

Academy Press Poetry Chap Book Contest

Academy Press is holding a poetry chapter book contest. Ending July 30th, there is entry fee and there are three winners. Divisions are separated into three age groups: youth, under 18; collegiate, any undergraduate; and emerging, MFA students and poets with no prior books published; there is one winner per division. Prizes include publication with 80 percent royalties.
Submission: Poetry Chapter Book 40–80 pages.
Entry fee: Free
Judge: Keira Schaefer
Youth Winner: publication and 80 per cent royalties.
Collegiate Winner: publication and 80 per cent royalties.
Emerging Winner: publication and 80 per cent royalties.

More information can be found at  https://academypress.org/contest/

DEADLINE: 30 July 2021 

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition

To be judged by Paul McDonald, this competition is for original, previously unpublished poems in English language, on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long. You may also enter a visual poem if the image will fit into a single page. Poems posted on members-only non-public groups for review/critique as part of the creative process are not deemed to have been previously published. Poets of all ages, gender or nationality living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes: £250 (1st), £125 (2nd), £75 (3rd), £30 x 3 (High Commendation), £20 x 3 (Commendation), £10 x 3 (Special Mentions)

Fees: £5/1, £8/2, £10/3, £12/4, £14/5, £16/7, £22/10)

Enter online or download an Entry Form now at https://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry/index.htm

DEADLINE: 31 July 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 


The WRITE ABOUT WALKING AND LISTENING competition was launched on 1 July, for poetry or prose in 250 words or under.

We invite you to write a (flash) story or poem of 250 words or under about walking and listening. We will publish an anthology of the best poetry and prose submitted both in an illustrated chapbook anthology as well as an audio book, as part of this year’s Sound Walk September, the month during which we celebrate everything about audio, listening and sound walks. On Sunday 26 September, we will showcase the winning poems and stories by inviting the winning authors and poets of this writing competition to read their work.

Prizes include Writer in residence for Walk Listen Create / Sound Walk September 2022, complimentary copies of the anthology (and subsequent audio book) and artwork from the anthology.

Submission fees 6 euros for one entry / 9 euros for 2 - can be waived for those unable to afford them.

The competition details and entry page is here:  https://walklistencreate.org/competition/write-about-walking/

DEADLINE: 8 August 2021 (midnight UTC)

Black in White Poetry Competition 2021

Black in White is launching its first Poetry Competition, calling for people to write and submit poems about their experiences of racism, prejudice, unconscious bias or microaggressions in the workplace.

The winners and around 25 highly commended poems will be published in Black in White – Community Collection, a new poetry book that will be launched in October 2021 during Black History Month.

1st prize £250
2nd prize £100
3rd prize £50

All prize-winning poems and 25 highly commended poems will be published in the new book and will receive a complimentary copy once the book is available.

To enter:
1. Log on to www.blackinwhiteservices.co.uk/store, pay £1.50 per poem you are submitting and obtain a payment reference
2. Send your entry by email to competition@blackinwhiteservices.co.uk, quoting your payment reference

Further details at www.blackinwhiteservices.co.uk/events

DEADLINE: 15 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 

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

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