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Winchester Poetry Prize 2022 

is now closed for entries

First Prize: £1,000

2nd Prize: £500 

3rd Prize: £250

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

​Judge: Jo Bell

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

Closing Date: 31 July 2022 (11:59pm)

The longlist will be announced in mid September and we will announce the winners on Saturday 8 October 2022. 

Winning and commended poems will also be published in a competition anthology.

Winchester Poetry Prize is generously sponsored by:






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

All the information you need to enter the Winchester Poetry Prize is on this page.
Please scroll down to read the

Pay it forward - Free entries for poets on low incomes.  

It is recognised that that some people may have difficulty affording entry and we are therefore introducing a 'Pay It Forward' scheme. See below for details of how to support.

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Jo Bell is a poet and occasional broadcaster, best known for her poems of canal life and as a former director of the UK's National Poetry Day. Her global online workshops have helped many people to cope with the pandemic.


Jo is widely published, and a winner of prizes including the Charles Causley Prize. Jo advises poets entering our competition, "Don't second-guess the judge. Trust me to recognise and honour the worth of the poems sent in, no matter what their form or subject, and no matter whether your style is anything like mine. It doesn't have to be 40 lines long, it just has to be GOOD. Send me your best."

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

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How to Enter



  • 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)

  • Poems should not have been submitted for or won another poetry competition at the time of submission. Poems may be submitted for other competitions after the closing date, but entrants must withdraw their poems from the Winchester Poetry Festival in the event of being shortlisted for any other prize. 

  • Poems should not be the translated work of another poet.

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

  • A number of free entries are available for poets to whom an entry fee would be a barrier. [Thanks to the 2020 winner Lewis Buxton who initiated this scheme] Online entrants can select the option to subsidise fees for other poets under the 'Pay It Forward' scheme.

  • Closing date: midnight on 31 July 2022. Entries received after this time will not be considered.

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

  • Our judge will read all qualifying 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.

  • 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 mid September 2022 and the result will be announced on Saturday 8 October 2022.

  • Your entry in the competition indicates acceptance of these rules.






Rules and How to enter
Free entries for poets on low incomes

It is recognised that that some people may have difficulty affording entry and we are therefore introducing a 'Pay It Forward' scheme. 

In 2021 Lewis Buxton, the winner of the 2020 Winchester Poetry Prize, supported a number of poets  on low-incomes by paying their entry fees. This year we have introduced a way for entrants to similarly support others.


Through our 'Pay it Forward' scheme you can pay for an entry by a poet who would not otherwise be able to enter the competition. There is no obligation to do so and donating in this way will have no influence on the outcome of the competition but will be supporting the poetry community.

To pay for a 'Pay It Forward' entry simply pay for one more poem than you are entering (see PayPal link above). If you are not entering the competition but would like to contribute to this scheme please use the Donate Button at the foot of this page.

The free entries will be available on a first-come first-served basis (one per person). Availability of free entries will be highlighted via our social media platforms as they become available.

If you are entering a poem under this scheme please send it by email to and mark your entry cover sheet as 'Pay It Forward'.

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