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The 2024 International Book & Pamphlet Competition

The UK’s most prestigious collection competition
– Manchester Metropolitan University

The Poetry Business is delighted to announce that the 38th International Book & Pamphlet Competition, judged by Jane Clarke, is now open!

The International Book & Pamphlet Competition was the first of its kind in Britain. Now in its 38th year, it has launched the careers of many well-established and successful poets, including Daljit Nagra, Michael Laskey, Kim Moore, Pascale Petit, and Catherine Smith.

The two winning collections are beautifully produced and promoted widely, and entered for all eligible awards and prizes. They are also sold in bookshops throughout the UK and through online stockists of The Poetry Business publications.

Competition Details

Entrants are invited to submit a collection of 20 pages of poetry. Two winners will be selected by the judge to be published by our award-winning imprint Smith|Doorstop Books. The two winners will also receive £500 each, publication in The North magazine, a reading at The Wordsworth Trust, and a place on a residential writing course. Two runners-up will receive publication in East of The North – The Poetry Business’s online poetry publication – plus an online reading and an honorarium of £100 each.

The two winners will receive close editing and help in extending their entry up to 28 pages for pamphlet publication. There is also an opportunity for them to submit a full-length manuscript, which, where the judges feel it is appropriate, may be published as a book in 2025.

Full-price entry is £29. Subscribers to The North, Friends of the Poetry Business, and members of the Poetry Society are eligible for the discounted fee of £27. All entrants will also receive a 10% code that can be used to purchase Poetry Book Society membership from the PBS website at www.poetrybooks.co.uk. A discount code will be sent to you by e-mail upon receipt of your entry to the competition.

You’ll find the answers to some frequently asked questions here. The full terms and conditions of entry can be found here.

We are keen to encourage poetry from all backgrounds and at this difficult time know that entry fees may be a barrier.  Therefore, we are allocating a number of free entries to this year’s New Poets Prize and the 2023 International Book & Pamphlet Competition. Apply for the entry fee waiver here.

The deadline for entries is midnight on Wednesday 6th March 2024.

The Judge: Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke is the author of three poetry collections, The River (2015), When the Tree Falls (2019) and A Change in the Air (2023) published by Bloodaxe Books, as well as an illustrated chapbook, All the Way Home, published by Smith|Doorstop (2019). Jane received the Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year Award 2016, the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry 2016 and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Award 2022. Her third collection A Change in the Air is shortlisted for the TS Eliot Poetry Prize 2023 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2023 and longlisted for the Laurel Prize 2023. Jane lives with her wife in the uplands of Co. Wicklow. 

I’m looking for a pamphlet that is moving and memorable with a compelling and distinctive voice. I want to feel enlivened by how the poet says what seems unsayable.

Jane Clarke on judging this year’s competition

Ann and Peter Sansom are directors of The Poetry Business and editors of The North magazine and Smith|Doorstop books. Ann’s publications include Romance and In Praise of Men & Other People (Bloodaxe) and Peter’s include Writing Poems (Bloodaxe) and Selected Poems (Carcanet).

See the list of past winners.

Sign up to our mailing list for updates

Each and every year The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition discovers and publishes exciting and substantial new poets…There’s no doubt that this is a career-changing poetry competition. If you’ve got a solid body of work that you’re pleased to have written, there’s nowhere better to send it.

The Poetry Trust

One of the career milestones for very many poets of note

Anne-Marie Fyfe

I’ve judged a lot of contests, but I can’t recall any where the quality of the poems – one manuscript after another – was so high

Billy Collins, 2015 competition judge

Terms and Conditions

Entering the competition
• We accept simultaneous competition submissions. Furthermore, if an entrant to the
International Book & Pamphlet Competition wins another pamphlet prize before the results
are announced, The Poetry Business will issue a full refund of the entrant’s entry fee.
• There is a standard fee of £29 for each entry submitted by post. This is reduced to £27 for
entrants who are North subscribers or Friends of the Poetry Business or current members of
the Poetry Society.
• You may submit as many collections as you wish.
• Your real name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Choose a pen name and a title
for your collection, and write both on every page.
• Postal entries must be postmarked on or before 6th March. Online entries can be submitted
up to midnight on the 6th March.
• Previous winners of The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition are not eligible to
re-enter within 5 years of winning.
• Entries sent by post must be accompanied by a completed entry form. (Online entrants
complete the ‘uploads form’ on this site.)
• We may use the email address you provide to contact you about the International Book &
Pamphlet Competition. You can request to stop receiving updates from us at any time by
contacting office@poetrybusiness.co.uk.

Your work
• We ask for small collections of 20 pages of poems. Poems may be of any length. A long
poem may take several pages. More than one poem may be printed on a single page.
• The poems should be for adults, in English, and typed on one side only of A4.
• As a guide, we recommend you use 12pt Times New Roman font.
• Poems may have been published elsewhere, but must not have previously appeared as a
published collection.
• Copyright remains with the authors but The Poetry Business reserves the right to first UK
publication of the collection for 12 months from publication. (This doesn’t prevent
publication elsewhere of individual poems.)
• We are unable to return manuscripts or offer feedback.

The prizes
• Two winners will be selected by the judge to be published by our award-winning imprint Smith|Doorstop Books. The two winners will also receive £500 each, publication in The North magazine, a reading at The Wordsworth Trust, and a place on a residential writing course. 
• The two winners will receive close editing and help in extending their entry up to 28 pages for pamphlet publication. There is also an opportunity for them to submit a full-length manuscript, which, where the judges feel it is appropriate, may be published as a book in 2025.
• Two runners-up will receive publication in East of The North on the Poetry Business website, an online reading and an honorarium of £100 each.
• All winners and runners-up will have the opportunity to read their work at a poetry reading organised by The Poetry Business shortly before (or after) publication of their title.

The judges
• The judges’ decision is final. If in the judges’ opinion no collection achieves a high enough
standard, no prizewinner will be chosen.
• We reserve the right to change the panel of judges without notice.
• Entry in the competition will be deemed to be acceptance of these conditions.

The Winners of the 2023 International Book & Pamphlet Competition

Thank you to all entrants to the 2023 competition for letting us see your work, and congratulations to the two winners, chosen by Hannah Lowe:

Laurie Bolger
for her collection Spin


Doreen Gurrey

for her collection A Coalition of Cheetahs 

Congratulations also to the Highly Commended poets: 

Mary Allen
Clementine Burnley
Michael Greavy
Lydia Harris
Ramona Herdman
Lauren O’Donovan

Judge’s Comments 

I was delighted by the pamphlets submitted for this year’s Book and Pamphlet Competition. The standard of work was very high, and it was tough to choose from such attentive and humane collections. As always, poetry continues to reflect our social and political times, and amongst these collections is fine writing about the body, gender, working and family histories, migration and diaspora.

Hannah Lowe 

Laurie Bolger

For Spin

These poems of memory and girlhood are powerful evocations of the changing body and the male gaze. A raw, absurdist humour provides a sense of defiance throughout, and the tone is in turns sad, angry, rue. – Hannah Lowe 

Laurie Bolger is a London based writer and founder of The Creative Writing Breakfast Club. Her work has featured at Glastonbury, TATE, RA & Sky Arts & has appeared in The Poetry ReviewThe London Magazine, Moth, Magma, Crannog, Stand & Trinity College Icarus. Laurie’s writing has been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, Live Canon, Winchester & Sylvia Plath Prizes. Her poem ‘Parkland Walk’ was awarded first place in The 2022 Moth Poetry Prize. Laurie’s latest work explores autonomy, love & her working class Irish heritage.

Doreen Gurrey

For A Coalition of Cheetahs

Varied in subject matter, these poems are clearly in the control of a singular voice. There is wonderful use of imagery throughout and surprising metaphor in abundance, in gentle and inventive poems that explores ideas of love, home, family and loss. – Hannah Lowe

Doreen Gurrey trained as an English and drama teacher and for several years ran her own Youth Theatre Company. She went on to become an Adult Literacy Tutor writing and delivering Family Learning courses for the local council. Latterly she has worked as a Creative Writing tutor at York University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg ReviewThe North and The Yorkshire Anthology. She has won prizes in The McClellan, Bridport and Troubadour poetry competitions. Doreen lives in York and has five grown up children. 

Highly Commended

Mary Allen

Mary Allen has spent her life in the arts. Initially she was an actor (rep, Rocky Horror Show, Godspell). Then, after many years as an arts management consultant, she became a chief executive, of Watermans Arts Centre, Arts Council England and The Royal Opera House. Subsequently she was an executive coach and joined several boards, including New Writing South of which she was chair. 

Clementine Burnley

Born in Cameroon, Clementine E. Burnley now lives and works between the UK and Germany. Clementine has an MSc in Applied Linguistics from Manchester University. She is currently a part-time, practice-based student at the Research Society for Process Oriented Psychotherapy where she studies conflict facilitation. Clementine has been published in Ink, Sweat & TearsMagma, and The Poetry Review. In 2022 she was the RSL Sky Award Winner for creative nonfiction. As well as writing poetry she’s working on a nonfiction book about her family history. 

Michael Greavy

Michael Greavy is a teacher from Manchester living on the edge of West Yorkshire. He has written and performed poetry at Edinburgh, Ilkley and Manchester festivals. Recent poems published in The NorthMagmaStandAcumen and The Frogmore Papers. His work has been long-listed for the Bridport Prize.

Lydia Harris

Lydia Harris has made her home in the Orkney island of Westray. Her first pamphlet Glad Not to be the Corpse was published by Smiths Knoll in 2012. In 2017 she held a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award. Her first full collection Objects for Private Devotion published by Pindrop was long listed for the Highland Book Prize. 

Ramona Herdman

Ramona Herdman’s recent publications are Glut (Nine Arches Press), A warm and snouting thing (The Emma Press) and Bottle (HappenStance Press). Glut was one of The Telegraph’s ‘20 best poetry books of 2022 to buy for Christmas’. Ramona lives in Norwich and is a committee member for Café Writers.

Lauren O’Donovan

Lauren O’Donovan is a writer from Cork, Ireland. In 2023, she won the Cúirt New Writing Prize in Poetry and was also shortlisted for Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Award and the Fish Poetry Prize. In 2022, Lauren was awarded Arts Council funding to work towards her first collection along with a Munster Literature Centre Mentorship. She has published work in journals and anthologies such as: Rattle Magazine, Southword, Skylight 47, The Galway Review, The Galway Advertiser, The Honest Ulsterman, A New Ulster, Cork Words, Augur Magazine, Green Ink, Grand Little Things, The Quarryman, and Swerve