The 2020 International Poetry Competition is now open for entries. 

£1000 first prize for a single poem

Guest Judge: Mona Arshi

Deadline: 13th May

Previous winners include: Tessa Foley, Lesley Saunders, Kirsten Irving, Andrew McMillan, Inua Ellams, Lesley Saunders, Sophie Fenella, Aisleen la Tourette, Jon Stone.
Previous judges include: Glyn Maxwell, Liz Berry, Lorraine Mariner, Barney Norris, Antony Dunn, Clare Pollard

Read the full guidelines and submit here:

Mona Arshi

is a poet and human rights lawyer. Her debut collection Small Hands won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. Mona’s second collection, Dear Big Gods, was published in 2019 and both are available from Pavilion Press. She has also been a prizewinner in the Magma, Troubadour and Manchester creative writing competitions… and this year, judged the National Poetry Competition.

Mona has performed her work at over 40 festivals internationally and in 2017 was on the judging panel for the Forward Prize and co-hosted the awards at the Royal Festival Hall. She can be heard regularly on our radios including on Front Row and was commissioned by Radio 4 for The Odyssey Project: My Name is Nobody in 2017. Mona teaches regularly in schools and colleges and has curated poetry events at the House of Commons with EVAW (End Violence Against Women) on International Woman’s Day. She co-edited a special issue of POEM magazine on the theme of BREXIT in June 2017.

2019 Winners


Ouroboros, Ella Duffy

Highly Commended

A cure for Rosesickness, Hilaire

Tutankhamun's Perfume, James O’Hara-Knight

For an Unknown Migrant, E. E. Jones


Starfish, Matt Riker

Two thousand and ninety-nine, Doreen Hinchliffe

Barbecues, Rebecca Watts

This is how it will work, Mark Fiddes

The Hospice Planet,Andrew George

Tired, Karen Morash

A Five Stage Guide to Processing Firewood,Bill Bradford

Sehnsucht, Laura Theis

Catherine the Great Reassesses Her Expansionist Policies, Tania Hershman

Coming of Age, Matthew McDermott

The new kids inside the old block, Marie-Louise Eyres

Pheasant Plucker, Benjamin Cusden

Locarno, Matthew Paul

We are not ashamed of our Buckshee life, Jane Burn

Seasaw, Aileen La Tourette

Keep calm and cross off, Steph Morris

The Election That Everyone Lost, Graham Turner



My Mother Climbing a Tree, 1955, Jonathan Edwards

You Have No Idea What I’m Saying, Catherine Edmunds

That Feeling When Friends and Family in the Pacific Northwest Complain of a Smoky Dystopia Because California is on Fire, Matt Hohner

Home is where it gets dark, Jackson

Icicle Symphony, Helen Grant

Windy Day With Princesses, Sarah Diamond

Middle C, Sharon Black

the blackout, S. K. Grout

After the Odyssey, Caroline Hammond

Hikikomori, Konstandinos Mahoney

Saudade Rumba, Jed Myers

View from Llandudno, Terry Quinn

Echoes of Empire, Claire Temple

Postcards from your shoulder, Joanna Wyld

Blue Monday, Sarah Barr

hi-fi, Henry St Leger

Uranium Mine at Shinkolobwe, Belgian Congo, Lauren Delapenha

Earth’s Change, Geraldine Clarkson

Dear Mother You’re Dying, Aaron Kent

New Cross Evensong,Robin Houghton

Fragments, Antony Mair

Frogs, Tabitha Hayward

Damp in the basement, Estelle Price

As If, Jack Bigglestone

A Short History of the Western World in Fleece,Heidi Beck

For the Love of Roland Barthes, Chiara Naomi

Staying Under, Jo Brandon

Cannibal Tom in Sydney, Angela Gardner

The River God Waits, Alan Dunnett 

Order the 2019 anthology from our store here:

Watch here some of the winning poems, from 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015...