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.

April 2020

The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2020

Awarded for the best piece of writing on the theme of Forgiveness and Retribution. 

First prize: £10,000

Second prize: £3,000

Third prize: £2,000

The winner and two runners up are invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium.

Rules: Open to all nationalities, aged 18 and above. All genres permitted. A maximum of 2500 words per entry. Limited to one entry per person. Text must not have been published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online, or have won or been placed in another competition at any time (including the AF Academic Writing Prize). All entries are judged anonymously and no correspondence can be entered into.

For more information and how to enter: https://alpinefellowship.com/writing-prize 

DEADLINE: 1 April 2020

Leeds Peace Poetry Competition 2020


Entries should be no longer than forty lines and be previously unpublished either in print or online.

Entries are limited to a maximum of two per person.

There are three categories – primary school, secondary school and adult. In each category, collective as well as individual entries are welcomed.

All shortlisted entrants will be invited to a celebration event on Thursday 30 April 2020, at which prizes will be awarded by Zaffar Kunial, the Chief Judge for 2020.

Winning poems will be published on the  website.

To submit: email your poem to leedspeacepoetry@gmx.co.uk. Include your name and school or home address only in the body of the email, with the titles of the poems.

Organizer: Leads Peace Poetry in partnership with Yorkshire Water

Complete guidelines are available here.

DEADLINE: 1 April 2020

Is Royalty Relevant? Poetry Competition

Task: Write a poem about the relevance of royal families in today’s society. You can write about any aspect of royalty: their role, actions, dress sense, sense of duty, scandals, economic relevance, artistic or sporting interests, their dogs and other pets or even their handbag (what’s in it?). You can be a royalist or staunch republican, that’s all fine, as long as, we are moved, excited, amused, annoyed or inspired by your poem.

Prize: £200 and publication in the Holland Park Press website

Length: 50 lines or less

Entry fee: none

Eligibility: poems written in English by writers over 18 from any country

To submit: email your poem as a Word, Text or PDF attachment to submissions@hollandparkpress.co.uk

Organizer: Holland Park Press

Complete guidelines are available here.

DEADLINE: 27 April 2020

May 2020

Ver Poets Open competition 2020

1st: £600
2nd: £300
3rd: £100
Plus inclusion of up to 30 longlisted poems in the competition anthology

Poems of up to 30 lines on any theme.

£4 per poem £10 for 3 poems

Jacqueline Safra

Send 2 copies of each poem submitted by post to Competitions Secretary, 181 Sandridge Road, St Albans, AL1 4AH

More info at: www.verpoets.co.uk

DEADLINE: 30 April 2020

Poetry London Prize 2020

The Poetry London Prize is a major, internationally renowned award for a single outstanding poem.

This year’s judge is the award-winning poet, critic and translator Ilya Kaminsky

First Prize: £5,000 | Second Prize: £2,000 | Third Prize: £1,000

Entry fee: Entries cost £4 per poem for Poetry London subscribers, and £8 per poem for non-subscribers. There are a limited number of free entries available for low-income writers.

Full guidelines are available here.

Submission link: poetrylondon.submittable.com/submit/159621/poetry-london-prize-2020

DEADLINE: 1 May 2020

2020 Live Canon International Poetry Competition (for single poems)

Runs: Annually

Based in: UK

Length stipulations: Poems can be of any length.

Entry fee: £6.50 for a single poem, £12 for two poems, £16.00 for three poems, £20 for five poems, £35 for ten poems.

Prizes: The overall winner will be awarded a £1000 prize. 16 poems will be shortlisted and performed at our annual prize-giving event. 50 poems will be longlisted and published in our annual anthology. There will be a £100 prize for the best poem submitted by someone living, working or studying in the Borough of Greenwich.

Further details: The competition will be adjudicated by Mona Arshi. You can enter as many poems as you like, at the same time, or in separate submissions.  Poems must not have been previously published. If you aren’t sure whether a poem is eligible, or you have any other questions, feel free to email us for guidance via our website www.livecanon.co.uk. Please do not include your name on your poem, so all poems can be considered anonymously.

Submission link: https://livecanon.submittable.com/submit

DEADLINE: 13 May 2020

2020 Live Canon Collection Competition (for full collections)

Runs: Annually

Based in: UK

Length stipulations: This competition is for full collections. 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. Less than that would be a pamphlet (we also run a pamphlet competition).

Entry fee: £12.

Prizes: There is a category for FIRST collections, and a category for SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT collections. 6 books will be long listed in the FIRST COLLECTION category, and 6 books will be long listed in the SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT COLLECTION category. 3 books will win a publication contract with Live Canon. To find out more about books published by Live Canon visit our website: http://www.livecanon.co.uk/store

Further details: All work must be, predominantly, in the English language. All work must be original. You may enter more than once. If you are unsure whether your collection is eligible, please get in touch via our website: www.livecanon.co.uk. The collection should not have been published before. It is fine if individual poems within the collection have already been published elsewhere (journals, magazines, online) but please flag this up at the start of the manuscript.

Submission link: https://livecanon.submittable.com/submit

DEADLINE: 25 May 2020

2020 Creative Future Writers’ Award

Founded in 2013, the Creative Future Writers’ Award is the UK’s only national writing competition and development programme for under-represented writers. They showcase talented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, identity or other social circumstance.

£12,000 in prizes will be awarded, including cash and professional writing development opportunities, publication in an anthology, and a high profile awards ceremony at the Southbank Centre in London as part of London Literature Festival (TBC).

2020 judges are Kerry Hudson, Anthony Anaxagorou, Aki Schilz of The Literary Consultancy, Sarala Estruch of The Poetry School and the CFWA 2020 Writer In Residence (TBA).

This year’s theme is ‘Tomorrow’.  Submissions are open for:

  • Poetry (up to 42 lines)
  • Short fiction (up to 2,000 words)

More information & how to enter: https://www.creativefuture.org.uk/for-writers/creative-future-writers-award/how-to-enter/

DEADLINE: 31 May 2020, 11:59pm

June 2020

Wells Festival of Literature’s International Poetry Competition

Opens: 1st April

Open Poetry: Entry fee, £6; any subject, no more than 35 lines

Prizes:  1st £1,000, 2nd £500, 3rd £250, Local £100


Young Poets age 16 to 22: Entry fee, £3; any subject, no more than 35 lines

Prizes: £150, £75, £50 plus a year’s membership of The Poetry Society


Further details: www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk

Contact: admin@wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk

DEADLINE: 30 June 2020