2023 International Poetry Competition

£1000 first prize for a single poem

Guest Judge: Inua Ellams MBE

Deadline:  24th July 2023

Submit here: https://livecanon.submittable.com/submit

Now in its 12th year, the Live Canon International Poetry Competition is currently open for entries until the 24th July.

50 shortlisted poems will be published in the Live Canon 2023 anthology.
15 shortlisted poems will be read at the anthology launch.
1 poem will be the overall winner, and the poet will win £1000.

Previous judges have included Mona Arshi, Glyn Maxwell, Clare Pollard, Rebecca Goss, Jennifer Wong, Lorraine Mariner, Zaffar Kunial, Barney Norris, Antony Dunn, Liz Berry.... Previous winners include Inua Ellams, Andrew McMillan, Ella Duffy, Tessa Foley, Aileen La Tourette, Andrew Mair and Kirsten Irving.

Inua Ellams MBE

Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is writer and curator. He is a cross disciplinary artist, an internationally touring performer, a poet, playwright, screenwriter, graphic artist & designer. His published books of poetry include Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, #Afterhours, and The Actual. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. His plays include Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre and world tour), Three Sisters (National Theatre) and The Half-God of Rainfall (The Kiln). He is currently touring Search Party, An Evening With An Immigrant and working on several commissions across stage and screen. 

 He lives and works from London, where he founded and curates the Midnight Run, The R.A.P Party, Poetry +Film / Hack, and other live events. He is an ambassador for The Ministry of Stories and The London Library, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Royal Society of Arts, and board members of The Poetry Translation Centre, Complicite Theatre, The Royal Society of Literature and Cheltenham Literature Festival. In 2023, He was honoured with an MBE for Services To The Arts.

Full Ts&Cs can be found on the submittable page. 

Order previous anthologies from our online store here:


Watch here some of the winning poems, from previous years read by members of the Live Canon ensemble: