The 2021 New Poets Prize is now open for entries

Judged by Kim Moore

DEADLINE: last post on Monday 1st March 2021, or midnight on Monday 1st March 2021 for online entrants


PRIZES: Pamphlet publication under the New Poets List imprint; a masterclass with the competition judge; a launch reading; publication in the North magazine; a place on an Arvon residential in 2021/22 for two of the winners and more.

The Poetry Business is delighted to announce that the 2021 New Poets Prize judged by Kim Moore is now open for entries.

The New Poets Prize is a pamphlet competition for writers between the ages of 17 and 24 (inclusive). This prize will run alongside the renowned International Book & Pamphlet Competition organized by The Poetry Business, which has now been established for 35 years.

Entrants are invited to submit short collections of twelve pages of poems. Four outstanding collections will be selected to receive a year of support from The Poetry Business: a publisher and writer development agency with a strong reputation for discovering, developing and publishing outstanding new poets.

All four New Poets Prize winners will also have their winning collection published under The New Poets List, our imprint dedicated to discovering, mentoring, and publishing young and emerging poets. Please note that the published winning collections will be extended versions of the winning manuscripts (approximately 20-24 pages of poems).

Other prizes include publication in The North magazine and a masterclass with the competition judge followed by a prize winners’ reading. Two of the four winners will receive a place on an Arvon residential of their choice in 2021/22.

Kim Moore’s first collection The Art of Falling (Seren, 2015) won the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She won a Northern Writers Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2010.  Her pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2011 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award. She recently completed her doctorate in poetry and everyday sexism and is currently working on her second collection.

A number of free entries are available for those who cannot afford the entry fee to the New Poets Prize. Applications for free entry closed on Thursday 31st December 2020. Applicants will receive the outcome of their application for free entry by Friday 15th January. Please note that unfortunately we are unable to accept applications for bursary places after the December deadline.

Read the conditions of entry here.

Click the button below to submit your entry online.

Please ensure you check your manuscript thoroughly before uploading it, as we cannot accept changes or replacement manuscripts after your entry has been submitted.

The 2021 New Poets Prize has now closed for entries. Thank you to everyone who has submitted; we look forward to reading your work.

Announcing the Winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize as chosen by Luke Kennard. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all entrants for letting us see your work.

Judge’s Comment

“Usually the overriding feeling I get when “judging” entries for a competition is ‘Who the hell am I?’ and this was only amplified by the quality of the submissions for this year’s New Poets Prize. These were all significant collections of work, showcasing such a variety of poetic talent, voice and vision, conceived and attentively curated into substantial, titled manuscripts. I did a lot of shuffling and reshuffling after my initial read-throughs. I revisited every book, quoted line after brilliant line on my increasingly thick pile of notecards. In every collection I found something (often many things) I wanted to read aloud to people, to recognise, to celebrate. In the end there were four that stood out to me for their distinctive voices and sensibilities, startling images and musicality; the thrilling sense that these were the opening notes of what will no doubt develop into a significant body of work over many years – something I would hope for every entrant whose work I was lucky enough to read.”

Luke Kennard

Gboyega Odubanjo

for his collection, Aunty Uncle Poems

Deep, funny, thought-provoking a powerful evocation of culture and family with the most assured phrasing and imagery and confident formal innovation. ‘Blessed Princess Lady’ is as beautifully strange as it is genuinely moving. ‘Drake Equations’ is fantastic. I could go on at length about every poem here. This was so exciting to read and I’d expect a major full collection from Odubanjo in the near future.Luke Kennard

Gboyega Odubanjo is a British-Nigerian poet born and raised in East London. His pamphlet, While I Yet Live, was published by Bad Betty Press in 2019. He is a Roundhouse Resident Artist. His work has been published in: Ambit, White Review, Wildness, The Interpreter’s House, Pigs, and elsewhere.

Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith

for her collection, Ugly Bird

HollingsworthSmith’s poems are immediately and joyfully readable even at their darkest, and Ugly Bird is full of masterful juxtapositions, emotional swerves and perfect details (the angle of an OHP, the plastic tiara prongs). It’s such a skill to navigate these waters with such attentiveness; defiant, ecstatic powers of observation transfiguring the ordinary with wit and self-awareness.Luke Kennard

Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith is a Rotherham based poet and a member of Hive South Yorkshire and the Writing Squad. She has been published in two Hive anthologies, was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2019 and highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award in the same year. Lauren volunteers at the children’s literary charity, Grimm and Co, and will be reading English and French at Oxford University in October.

Lucy Holt

for her collection, Empathy Creature

Holt draws the reader’s fascination and engagement from such unexpected quarters through the most judicious deployment of detail: eye-lash curlers, dual carriageways, real-life encounters with Coronation Street actors. The juxtapositions are superior and considered and I was captivated by the shrewd, clever voice throughout.Luke Kennard

Lucy Holt is a freelance copywriter and MA student at The Royal College of Art, London. Her poetry and non-fiction has appeared in The Observer, 3:AM Magazine, The Oxford Review of Books and Ache Magazine. She lives in Manchester.

Georgie Woodhead

for her collection, Takeaway

Takeaway is a vivid and powerful collection. Expansive but precise lines and stanzas give Woodhead the space to explore the lives and scenes she depicts. So many of the images here are breathtaking and will really stay with me. ‘Harry Collins’ is such a vivid, poignant and angry character study and the title poem alone was enough to convince me that I was in the presence of a significant and urgent new voice. Uncompromising in its depiction of brutalities without ever sacrificing the humanity and compassion of the poet’s vision.Luke Kennard

Georgie Woodhead is part of the Hive Poetry Collective. In 2018 she was a winner of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year, highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award, and 2nd place winner in the Ledbury Poetry Competition (young people’s category). In 2019 she was the winner of the BBC Young Writer of The Year and was Young Poet in Residence at Sheaf Poetry Festival. In 2020 she was a recipient of the Newcastle Young Writers Prize, and was highly commended in the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition. Georgie has been published in two Hive anthologies. She’s performed widely at open mics and live events including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2018, and has been a guest on Ian McMillan’s The Verb on Radio 3.

Poems by all four winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize will feature in the forthcoming issue of The North magazine, issue 65, which is out this Winter. 

A New Poets Prize winners reading will he held at The Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester in Autumn 2020, and the four winning pamphlets will be published in June 2021. 

The 2021 New Poets Prize will open for entries on 1st October 2020. 

The Judge

Luke Kennard is a poet and novelist. The author of five collections of poetry, his debut The Solex Brothers received an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 and his second, The Harbour Beyond the Movie was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2007 making him, at that point, the youngest writer ever to have been nominated. His most recent collection, Cain, was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize in 2017. He lectures at the University of Birmingham.

See the list of past winners.

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