The 2020 competition offers two prizes of publication of a 32-page pamphlet for poets who have not previously had a poetry collection published. Each winner will receive 50 free copies of their pamphlet, and marketing support, to launch it. Both poets will also be offered a headline poet event at the 2021 Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

A shortlist will be published by March 15, and the listed poets will be invited to read a poem at the 2020 Cheltenham Poetry Festival, at an event in which the winners will be announced.

Judges: Dr Angela France, David Clarke, and 2019 competition winner Janet Lees.

Opening date: 15 October 2019, Closing date: 15 February, 2020

  • Open to all poets who have not had a pamphlet or collection published by an independent publisher. A self-published pamphlet or collection does not exclude a poet from entering.
  • All poems must be entirely the entrant’s own work. Individual poems in an entry may have been published online, in journals or magazines, or multi-author anthologies, provided the writer retains copyright, However the entered poems must not have been published in a solo collection.
  • International entrants are welcome.
  • Your entry should contain up to 10 poems of no more than 50 lines each. Each poem should start on a new page. (Please note that the winner will be invited to submit more poems to fill a 32-page pamphlet.)
  • You may submit up to three entries of 10 poems, provided an entry fee is paid for each.
  • Your entry’s title should appear on a separate first page. The title may relate to a key poem or suggest the collection’s theme if it has one.
  • To maintain anonymous judging, there must be no identity marks on any poem or title page.
  • Entries should be emailed to Your title and poems, each on a separate page, must be in one file in Word or  Rich Text format.
  • Do not put any identification on the work except your payment transaction number. The administrator will match your entry title to your email address after the anonymous judging is complete.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but an entry must be withdrawn in the event of it winning a prize or publication elsewhere.. Entry fees are not refundable once an entry has been received.
  • Work will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  • We are unable to give feedback on individual entries or on the results of the competition — the judges’ decisions are final.
  • Results will be emailed or posted to all contestants by 30 March 2020 and published on this Web site and at the 2020 Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
  • The fee is £10 per entry.if payment is made by 31 December 2019, under an Early Bard offer. The fee per entry will be £12 for payment made on or after 1 January 2020, Fees must be paid before entries are submitted. The payment transaction number for each entry must be noted at the top of each entry, as the only identification of the author.
    Payment will be online only, and payment link will be available in early October.
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