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Winchester Poetry Prize opens for entries

Winchester Poetry Festival opened entries for their Poetry Prize competition at the beginning of this month.

The Festival “aims to promote and foster exciting talent with this open award.” 

All entries will be judged by Jacqueline Saphra, an award-winning poet and writer, who teaches at The Poetry School. 

There are cash prizes for the top 3 entries, £1,000 for first place, £500 for second place and £250 for third place. A special prize is also being offered to a Hampshire-based poet.

Anyone aged 16 or over is allowed to enter the competition. The poem can be on any subject and written in any style, but must be no longer than 40 lines.

There is an entry fee of £5 for the first poem submitted and £4 for each entry after that.

The winner of last year’s competition, Lewis Buxton, won for his poem titled “un-seaming the tendon”.

Ten entry fees have been paid for by Mr Buxton: “I’m supporting 10 poets on low incomes to enter the Winchester Poetry Prize in 2021, and in doing so support them in continuing to be part of a poetry community.”  These are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The closing date for the competition is the 31st of July.

A prize-giving event is to be held on 9 October 2021, depending on Covid restrictions.

Festival Manager, Madelaine Smith, told Winol: “We hope very much that Covid restrictions allowing we will be able to host a live event at the Winchester Discovery Centre which has always been the ‘hub’ of our festival. In 2020 we successfully moved the event online and will do so again if need be.”

“The event invites all the ‘longlisted’ poets to the ceremony and they are then called upon to read. The poets do not know at this point who has won.”

Since the competition opened there have been a few entries each day, but according to Madelaine “the vast majority of entries come in in the last month. In 2020 85% entries were received in July.”

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