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Winchester Poetry Prize is our globally popular, annual poetry competition, which began in 2016.

The competition attracts entries from all over the world and is judged blind. It opens in April, and closes in July.

Previous judges have included Zaffar Kunial, Jacqueline Saphra, Andrew McMillan, Helen Mort, Liz Berry, Sarah Howe, Mimi Khalvati and Jo Bell. The competition judge reads all of the poems entered (we do not use sifters) and chooses the longlisted poems. These are announced in September.

These longlisted poets are invited to read at a special prize-giving ceremony as part of Winchester Poetry Festival in October - it is here that the winners are announced. This exciting event is free to attend, in person or online. 

Winning poets receive cash prizes (1st prize: £1000, 2nd prize: £500, 3rd prize: £250) and all longlisted poems are published in a printed anthology. The best poem written by a poet living in Hampshire is awarded the Kathryn Bevis Prize (previously the Hampshire Prize) which is a year's worth of tuition from The Writing School Online and £150.

The Winchester Poetry Prize winner in 2020 - Lewis Buxton - generously supported a number of poets on low incomes to enter the competition the following year. We have continued this Pay-It-Forward initiative ever since. (If you would like to contribute to this scheme, you may donate via the button at the bottom of this page, and please email to let us know you have)

To celebrate our partnership with University Of Winchester, and to nurture up-and-coming local poets, we offer UofW students 50 free entries to the competition each year.

Winchester Poetry Prize is a great example of how we aim to be international in outlook whilst supporting the community within which we are working.

In 2023, the Winchester Poetry Prize was judged by Zaffar Kunial and received almost 2000 entries. 295 poems received (16%) were from poets residing in Hampshire, 43 entries were paid for by other poets/donors using a Pay it Forward Scheme, and, in addition to the UK, there were entries from 37 countries including Yemen, Israel, Ukraine, Haiti.

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