Some frequently asked questions about the competition...

'Unpublished' work

Presentation of the collection

Am I eligible?

The entry fee


You can also find out a bit more about the competition and its history by reading this interview with Peter Sansom for Sphinx magazine.


'Unpublished' work

The poems in my collection have all been published individually in magazines, but have never appeared together as a collection. Are they eligible?

Yes, that's fine. And if you're a winner, the individual magazines will all be acknowledged on the copyright page of your winning pamphlet.


My collection has been published previously, but it was by a vanity publisher. Is it eligible?

Unfortunately not, no. The collection itself has to be entirely original.


Presentation of the collection

Does the collection need to be bound / presented in an expensive folder?

No, not at all. Some people send their work held together with a clip, others use a standard plastic wallet, some use a folder and occasionally people just drop the loose pages in an envelope. This last method means our administrator has to find a paperclip before the work can be passed on to the readers, but essentially it's up to you how the work is presented.


Can I put more than one short poem on a single page (thereby bringing the total number of poems up to more than 24)?

Yes, that's fine. The only condition in terms of length is that the overall collection is between 20 and 24 pages in total. The number of poems is up to you.


Can I include extra pages with illustrations, contents, a cover, etc.?

Yes you can. We ask that there are no more than 24 pages of poems, but you can include extra pages if you wish.



I live overseas–can I still enter?

You certainly can! We're always really pleased to see how many of our entries come from overseas. (In fact, encouraging more overseas entrants was one of the reasons we started accepting entries .)

The poems do have to be in the English language, but you certainly don't need to be based in the UK or Europe to enter.


The entry fee

How do I find out if I'm a subscriber/Friend or not? I think my subscription might have run out but I'm not sure.

To check whether you're still a subscriber or 'Friend', you can contact us and ask. If your subscription or membership had run out though, we would have contacted you–so feel free to submit anyway. (We can always get in touch if there's a problem.)


Why do I have to pay to enter? Will the entry fee be returned if I'm not one of the winners?

The competition entry fee covers the costs of running the competition, so returning those of poets who don't win would make it impossible for us to run the event.

Our two expert readers and judge all need paying appropriately for what is many hours of intensive reading. In addition, the competition needs to be promoted, there are substantial administration costs, £2,000 prize money and a winners' reading - all of which is paid for by the entry fees. (The winning collections are printed and publicised out of our usual budget.)

The competition makes up an extremely important part of our income though, and allows us to continue with our less lucrative activities (such as publishing poetry!).

If you can't afford the entry fee this year but still want to submit your poems, you're more than welcome to send up to six to The North magazine. (This is of course free of charge.)

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