Winchester Poetry Prize 2021

First Prize: £1,000

2nd Prize: £500 

3rd Prize: £250

​Judge: Jacqueline Saphra

Entry fee: £5 for first poem, £4 for subsequent poems

Closing Date: 31 July 2021

Entries for the Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 are now open. 


We will hold a special prize-giving event on Saturday 9 October 2021. WE hope that this event will be a live event as a part of the Winchester Poetry Festival 2021 however if there are restrictions still in place which prevent this the event will be online. Winning and commended poems will also be published in a competition anthology.

A prize is also available for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.


Winchester Poetry Prize is generously sponsored by:






Best poem by a poet living in Hampshire will receive a prize kindly donated by Warren & Son 

Paris Smith_Legal Excellence 2019.jpg

Andrew McMillan’s first collection, physical, was the only poetry collection to ever win The Guardian First Book Award. It also won a Somerset Maugham Award, an Eric Gregory Award, a Northern Writers’ Award and the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. It was shortlisted for numerous others including the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second collection, playtime, won the inaugural Polari Prize.

Andrew is a senior lecturer in the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

"Sometimes, instead of sifting through a box of poems, I like to imagine myself elsewhere. Maybe I'm a judge on a fashion reality show, and the poems are parading by me on a runway. At first, obviously, you're looking for something that's finished at all, something that doesn’t' fall apart under the bright lights of scrutiny. Most poems submitted will pass that test. So after that, it's the detail, is the poem coming slightly loose, is it stitched tight, do themes or ideas clash like garish patterns, do things work well together? Then there's that extra thing, the wow-factor, the moment a piece of clothing becomes art, the moment a poem becomes literature. I look forward to seeing your words. To wearing them as I walk around the house reciting them. Make it work."

Andrew McMillan

To enter please first read the competition rules. Scroll down for more information.




  • The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over

  • Entries may be submitted via email or by post

  • Poems may be on any subject and in any form or style

  • They must be typed and not longer than 40 lines (excluding title)

  • Poems should be in English, must be the entrant's own work and should not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere (including online), should not have won another poetry competition or be the translated work of another poet.

  • Entry fee: £5 for first poem, £4 for subsequent poems in a single submission.

  • Closing date: midnight on 31 July 2021. Entries received after this time will not be considered.

  • Where a poem is longer than one page, please clearly include the title on each page.

  • All poems are judged anonymously and should not bear your name, or any other form of identification.

  • Our judge will read all entries.

  • No person may win more than one cash prize, though more than one poem may feature in the list of Commended and Highly Commended poems.

  • No changes can be made to a poem once it has been submitted. A revised poem can be submitted however a new entry fee must be paid.

  • Entrants do not need to be resident in the UK to enter, but please note, travel expenses to read at the prize-giving in Winchester are not covered.

  • The decision of the judge is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

  • Winchester Poetry Festival Trustees, employees or associates, or members of their families, may not enter.

  • The winners will be contacted by email or post by Wednesday 15 September 2021 and the longlist will be published on the website at this time. The result will be announced at an event in Winchester on Saturday 9 October 2021.



















By email

  • Select the payment button for the number of entries you wish to submit and pay online

  • Send an email with your poems in a  Word attachment.

  • In the submission email you should give a: your name,  address and telephone number, b: a list of the titles of the poems submitted, c: where you heard about the competition and d: your PayPal transaction reference number

  • Send your entry to:




By post

  • Each individual poem should be typed on a separate page of A4

  • On a separate sheet of A4 paper please provide a: your name,  address and telephone number, b: an email address if you have one, c: a list of the poems submitted, d: where you heard about the competition. (or you can download an entry form here.)

  • Cheques should be made payable to 'Winchester Poetry Festival'.

  • Send your poems (2 copies), entry sheet and cheque in an envelope clearly marked Winchester Poetry Prize to: Winchester Poetry Festival, c/o 41 Nuns Road, Hyde, Winchester, SO23 7EF  (Please ensure you pay the correct postage. We will be unable to pay postage surcharges and your entries may be returned by the Post Office.)


© 2014 / Winchester Poetry Festival is a Registered Charity Number: 1150997

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