2019 International Poetry Competition

£1000 first prize for a single poem

Guest Judge: Zaffar Kunial

DEADLINE: Midnight on the 8th July

ENTER NOW: https://tinyurl.com/y6gwshjj

Entries are open for the annual Live Canon competition for a single poem, with a first prize of £1000.

You can click the link above to enter online. If you'd prefer to enter by post, you can download an entry form below. Postal entries must be postmarked on or before the 8th July. 

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

50 poems will be long listed and published in our 2019 anthology.
20 poems will be shortlisted and performed by the Live Canon ensemble, at Greenwich Theatre, as part of the prize giving event on 13th October.
Our guest judge will select one overall winner to win the £1000 first prize.

There is a special 'Borough' prize of £100 for any writer living, working or studying in Greenwich, sponsored by Greenwich Theatre.

We are particularly looking for poems which leap off the page, and all poems will be read aloud as part of the judging process.

There is an entry fee, as detailed on our submissions page; this goes towards the cost of running the competition, and any additional funds then go towards the costs of our children's poetry competition (for which there is obviously no fee...) If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

Here is the winning entry from 2018, Jon Stone's 'The Lookout'. .


We are absolutely honoured that Zaffar Kunial will be our guest judge this year.  Zaffar was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize in 2018 for 'Us'. 

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Hebden Bridge. He published a pamphlet in the Faber New Poets series in 2014 and spent that year as the Wordsworth Trust Poet-in-Residence. Since his first public reading, of 'Hill Speak' at the 2011 National Poetry Competition awards, he has spoken at various literature festivals and in programmes for BBC radio, and won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem 'The Word'.

'Zaffar Kunial is a poet whose work thrills me, who makes you return to the origins of things, places, language and people again and again. He's a poet who takes traditions seriously but makes of them something entirely new - a must.' (Jackie Kay)

'Us by Zaffar Kunial abounds with poems which are witty, playful and heart-breaking by turns. Drawn to the place where things don't quite meet, which he describes as "a kind of abysmal underneathness/or usness/under the heights of language", his is a wondrous poetic of loopholes, portals and translations, and of the magic in-between'. (Sinead Morrissey Chair of the T. S. Eliot Prize judges)

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