Order the 2020 anthology

You can order the 2020 anthology from our store here: https://www.livecanon.co.uk/store/product/2020-anthology

You can also order a copy, for £5. to be donated to a secondary school library: https://www.livecanon.co.uk/store/product/donate-an-anthology-to-a-school-library

2020 International Poetry Competition

£1000 first prize for a single poem

Guest Judge: Mona Arshi

We are delighted to announce that the 2020 competition has been won by Paul Terence Carney for his poem 'Wind Up Eyeballs'. 

Below is the longlist and shortlist - all 50 longlisted poems appear in our 2020 anthology. We're so proud of it!


Akshayaa Chittibabu, Pariah

April Yee, West/East

Christian Wethered, Call

David Butler, Distancing

Elizabeth Neal, A Violet I Plucked from Mother's Grave

Emma Simon, The Actuaries

Helena Li, Breaking Waves

Jacqueline Schaalje, Daniella Has Good Lungs

Kathryn Bevis, Tidal Race

Kathy Pimlott, In Regents Park

Laura Theis, advice from one who's been burnt before

Mel Pryor, Entering Her 50th year

Michaela Coplen, Airline Miles

Nicky Kippax, People came

Nora Nadjarian, Nausicaa

Paul Carney, Wind-up Eyeballs

Rachel Lee, Place Name: Bishan –

Sharon Black, Instead of gulls

Tabitha Hayward, Khnum

Theresa Muñoz, Brothers


Adam Lowe, Cargo Cult

Alexandra Melville, Mother's Mother

Andrew George, Our Household Goods

Arji Manuelpillai, to my brother’s ex-wife whom I saw on the northern line

Claire Dyer, The girl with the light inside

Denisa Vítová, lingua franca

Dipo Baruwa-Etti, The Line

Fiona Larkin, Madonna of the Parenting Manual

Hannah-Lee Osborn, More Like Wrestling Than Dancing

Heidi Beck, Hunting Season      

Jo Brandon, Waste: A History

Jonathan Edwards, Photograph of Joe Strummer as a Gravedigger, St Woolo’s Cemetery, Newport, 1974

Jonathan Greenhause, Skywards

Joolz Sparkes, The ringmaster's sleepless nights

Katie Griffiths, The sex training-video is full of plot holes/socks

Laura Davis, Amicus Curiae Brief

Lisa Kelly, Design of Deaf-Aid and Conference Amplifiers with Corrected Characteristics, August 1938

Maia Elsner, Elegy to the howler monkeys

Mark Fiddes, Goldfinches

Martyn Crucefix , How to talk to your children

Nathan Evans, And One Day It Stopped

Pam Thompson, An afternoon  

Paul Stephenson, Boy at the End of a Long Narrow Garden

Rod Whitworth, This year

Sarah Barnsley, Ode in the wrong time and place

Selina Rodrigues, Ferocious

Tjawangwa Dema, To husband

Vanessa Lampert, Rain

William Stephenson, The Drone Studio

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.

Watch here some of the winning poems, from previous years: