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Winchester Poetry Prize 2024 opens - with new Kathryn Bevis Prize category.

Winchester Poetry Prize 2024 is open! Once again, we are reaching out to all corners of the globe asking poets to submit their best, unpublished poems to be in with a chance of winning £1000 in Winchester Poetry Prize 2024.

We are delighted to announce that Clare Shaw is our judge this year. Clare has four poetry collections published via Bloodaxe Books, teaches creative writing at the University of Huddersfield, and is a regular tutor at Wordsworth Grasmere, the Royal Literary Fund and the Arvon Foundation. They are a passionate advocate for accessibility in poetry, and for poetry as a tool of personal and social change.

Clare will be reading every single poem entered and choosing those all important winners.

Clare Shaw says:

“Whatever the subject, fill your poetry with curiosity, and an excitement for language. Tone, language, form – all of these tools bring the poem to life in the imagination, intellect and heart of the reader. Send me your living, breathing poems!” 

This year marks a big change as we rename the 'Hampshire Prize' to be the 'Kathryn Bevis Prize'. In our 2023 competition, over 15% of entries received were from poets that reside in Hampshire. The newly named Kathryn Bevis Prize will celebrate the best poem written by a poet based in Hampshire, whilst recognising Kathryn Bevis as a significant poetic voice emerging from our county in recent years. The winning poem will be chosen by competition judge Clare Shaw.

(photo ©Tina Norris Photography)

Chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, Jane Bryant, says:

“Winchester Poetry Festival feels honoured to rename the Hampshire Prize, the Kathryn Bevis Prize. Kathryn is now a nationally recognised, award-winning poet who not only brings her success as a poet because of the quality and depth of her writing and the expressive insights that this gives, but she also brings a record of commitment to growing and developing poets and poetry writing and expression in others.  A former Hampshire Poet, she has worked with many diverse communities including with those experiencing challenges in their lives, and with emerging poets, offering wisdom, expertise and most importantly recognising and growing their potential.  We are really delighted to honour her work in this way”.

The winner of the newly named Kathryn Bevis Prize will receive a year’s worth of tuition from The Writing School alongside a cash prize of £150. The Kathryn Bevis Prize is generously supported by The Writing School Online

There are prizes for the poems judged by Clare Shaw as being the top three entries - 1st: £1000, 2nd: £500 and 3rd: £250. These prizes are generously sponsored by Paris Smith.

Huw Miles, Managing Partner at Paris Smith says:

“We are proud to be long term supporters of Winchester Poetry Prize.  The competition is truly international and the standard of entries is consistently stellar.  As part of the hugely successful festival itself, the Prize is a wonderful focus for the talent on show and a standout event in the cultural calendar of Winchester.”

The longlisted poets are invited to read, and the winners announced, live at a Prize-Giving event as part of Winchester Poetry Day 2024 - with no knowledge of their placing in advance. All winning and commended poems are published in a printed anthology which is launched and available to purchase on the day. This exciting event will take place in front of a live audience at The ARC, Winchester (and online) as part of Winchester Poetry Day on Saturday 5th October.

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 2024 (UK time). 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:

Good luck to all those who enter the competition this year.

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