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Winchester Poetry Prize 2023 is officially open!

We are calling on poets from around the world to submit their best, unpublished work to be in with a chance of winning £1000 in our ever-popular Winchester Poetry Prize. Poems can be on any subject and in any form or style but must be written in English and be no more than 40 lines. This year, we are pleased to announce that our 2023 Winchester Poetry Prize judge is multi-award winning poet and author, Zaffar Kunial.

We are proud to say that the Winchester Poetry Prize is one of the few literary competitions where the winners are announced live at the Award Ceremony with no knowledge of their placing in advance. Additionally, we also publish all winning and commended poems in a competition anthology which is also launched at the live ceremony.

This exciting prize-giving event will take place in front of a live audience at The ARC, Winchester, as part of the Winchester Poetry Festival programme 13-15 Oct 2023.


Zaffar Kunial says:

I’m really looking forward to reading your poems, and whatever their subject and whatever their style. Good luck!”


Chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, Jane Bryant, says:

“ The Winchester Poetry Prize has grown in popularity since its inception in 2016. It acts as a creative catalyst for some tremendous poets and writers locally, nationally, and internationally. We welcome entries from all writers. Last year we were delighted to receive poems from over 2000 people from more than 35 countries. What a fabulous indication of the value of poetry in people’s professional and personal lives.”


There are prizes for poems judged as being in the top three, with a special prize for the best poem by a poet living in Hampshire, generously donated by local stationer Warren & Son. The competition is sponsored by Paris Smith.


Huw Miles, Managing Partner at Paris Smith says:

"We are honoured to continue our support of the Winchester Poetry Prize, an inspiring and significant platform celebrating the power of words and the vital role poetry plays in our society. As a firm that values creativity, innovation and diversity, we believe the arts - and poetry, in particular - possess the unique ability to capture emotions, challenge perspectives and foster connections between people. The Winchester Poetry Prize is a fantastic opportunity for both established and emerging poets to showcase their talent. We are thrilled to be part of this journey in nurturing the literary arts. Our partnership with this esteemed competition reaffirms our commitment to supporting the creative community and helping to amplify the voices of these gifted writers, whose works enrich our world in so many ways."


Winchester Poetry Prize is an annual competition that attracts writers of all abilities from all over the world. Entry is £6 for the first poem, and £5 for subsequent poems. There is a pay-it-forward scheme originally set up by 2020’s competition winner, Lewis Buxton. This enables those who can afford to enter the competition to support emerging poets who cannot.


The competition closes at 23:59 on 31 July 2023. Poems can be submitted by email or by post.

Details of how you can contribute to, or benefit from, the Pay It Forward scheme, alongside those all-important rules, and how to submit your poems, can be found here: www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org/prize


Why not give it a go this year? The very best of luck to all who do!

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