Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 

Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 has now closed.




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: Jacqueline Saphra

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

Closing Date: 31 July 2021 (11:59pm)

Entries for the Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 are now open. 


We will hold a special prize-giving event on Saturday 9 October 2021. We are planning for this event to be a live event in Winchester. However, if there are restrictions still in place which prevent this, the event will move online. 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 

Paris Smith_Legal Excellence 2019.jpg

Jacqueline Saphra’s The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye 2011) was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (The Emma Press 2014), performed with music by Benjamin Tassie, won the Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work. A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller was published by Hercules Editions in 2017. In the same year All My Mad Mothers (Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize. Her most recent play, The Noises, was produced at The Old Red Lion Theatre in 2019 and was a finalist in the Standing Ovation Awards. Her latest books are Dad, Remember You Are Dead (Nine Arches Press) and Veritas: Poems After Artemisia (Hercules Editions), and 100 Lockdown Sonnets (Nine Arches Press, 2021).


Jacqueline teaches and mentors at The Poetry School. www.jacquelinesaphra.com

Thanks to the generosity of the 2020 winner, Lewis Buxton, a number of poets  on low-income received a free entry to the competition.
All the free entries have now been claimed.  

"As I sit down excitedly with my morning coffee and who knows, perhaps a biscuit, and begin to read, I'll be looking for poems with a good emotional thwack. Of course the poem should be well-crafted and consistent with itself; it can be strictly formal or wildly experimental, so long as it goes about its business with passion, integrity and intention. I'm open to all breeds of poetic power: for example, power that comes from direct expression, or from metaphor, or from the unsaid that exists in the white space. I'll be hungry for those poems where the poet is invested in their material, where there is a piece of the poet embedded in the poem. I'm always on the hunt for that sense that the poem is knocking on the door of my heart saying 'let me in', until I just have to open up, a poem that yields just enough on a first reading to entice me back and will go on living inside me long after I've taken my eyes off the page."

Jacqueline Saphra

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.

  • 10 free entries are available for poets to whom an entry fee would be a barrier. [Thanks to the 2020 winner Lewis Buxton who is supporting this initiative]

  • Closing date: midnight on 31 July 2021. 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 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.

  • 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 mid September 2021 and the result will be announced on Saturday 9 October 2021.

  • Your entry in the competition indicates acceptance of these rules








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/the name on the Paypal account used

  • Send your entry to: entries@winchesterpoetryfestival.org








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'. (Note: 'Festival', not 'Prize'.)

  • 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.)