The 2020 National Poetry Competition

Deadline: 31 October 2020
Open to: anyone 18 and above can apply
Benefits: cash prizes that go from the first prize award of GBP 5000, the second prize award of GBP 2000 and third prize of GBP 1000, including GBP 200 worth for commendations


The National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s longest-running and most prestigious prizes for an individual poem. The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”. Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes the leading poetry magazine, The Poetry Review.


In order to successfully apply:

  • You must be 18 or above;
  • Your poem must not be over 40 lines long (this applies only to the written lines of the poem, meaning that stanzas, titles, epigraphs and dedications are not included in this rule);
  • There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.
  • All entries must be unpublished works (this includes poetry published on blogs or any other website publications including various social media websites);
  • Although strongly advised against (in order to not cause any possible confusion) it is allowed to have simulations submissions of the your work for other competitions or publications that you are applying to the National Poetry Competition;
  • Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.


Prizewinners will be notified by the end of February 2021 and invited to an awards event in spring 2021. There will be ten prizes awarded to the selected applicants. The first place wins a cash prize of GBP 5000, the second place will receive a cash prize of GBP 2000 and third place will receive a prize of GBP 1000, including commendations of GBP 200 (All winners will be expected to provide a biography and photograph).

How to apply?

For more information about the application process please visit the official website.