The Poetry Business 2016/17 International Book & Pamphlet Competition

Judged by Ian Duhig & Mimi Khalvati


"One of the career milestones for very many poets of note has been winning the prestigious Poetry Business competition." — Anne-Marie Fyfe


JUDGES: Ian Duhig & Mimi Khalvati

DEADLINE: last post on Friday 27th January 2017, or midnight on Monday 30th January 2017 (online)

ENTRY FEE: £28, or £25 for North subscribers, Friends of the Poetry Business and members of the Poetry Society.

PRIZES: Publication by smith|doorstop Books; a share of £2,000 cash; a launch reading at The Wordsworth Trust; publication in the North magazine; book vouchers from Inpress Books and more. 

The Poetry Business is delighted to announce the 31st International Book & Pamphlet Competition and the Inaugural Wordsworth Trust Reader's Prize judged by Ian Duhig & Mimi Khalvati are now open for entry.

Entrants are invited to submit a collection of 20-24 paged of poetry. Four winners will be selected by the judges to be published by our award winning imprint, smith|doorstop books. All winners will also receive a share of £2,000, publication in the North magazine, a reading at The Wordsworth Trust and gift vouchers from Inpress Books. 

All winners will be garunteed pamphlet publication, however there is also an opportunity to subit a full-length manuscript, which if successful will be published as a book in the Autumn of 2017. 

Full-price entry is £28. Subscribers to the North, Friends of The Poetry Business, and members of the Poetry Society are eligible for the discounted fee of £25. All entrants will also receive a 20% off discount cofe for the Inpress Books website at

Entries can be submitted by post (with a cheque and completed entry form) or online by clicking here. (LINK)


The Judges

Former Homelessness worker Ian Duhig's seventh book 'The Blind Roadmaker' is a PBS Spring Recommendation and is shortlisted for the 2016 Forward and Roehampton Prizes. A Cholmondeley Award recipient and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Duhig is a joint winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for short stories, winner of the Forward Best Poem Prize, the National Poetry Competition twice and has three times been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. 



Mimi Khalvati has published eight collections with Carcanet Press, including Child: New & Selected Poems, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. 

She is the founder of The Poetry School where she teaches. She has received a Cholmondeley Award, a major Arts Council Writer's Award and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent collection, The Weather Wheel (Carcanet, 2014), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and Book of the Year in The Independent. 


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).


The Reader's Prize 


1st Prize - £1000

2nd Prize - £250

3rd Prize - £50


The Reader's Prize is a new single poem prize that will run alongside the International Book & Pamphlet Competition. All entrants to the main competition will automatically be entered into this prize, which will celebrate and showcase the best single poems by entrants to our main International Book & Pamphlet Competition.

The competition judges will shortlist 20 poems from all manuscripts entered into the main competition. These will be published on the Poetry Business website. Readers will vote for a first, second and third prize winner. 

The three prize winners will be awarded cash prizes and will be invited to read a selection of their work alongside the winners of the main competition at the Wordsworth Trust, and attend a weekend of Workshops run by the competition Judges. As well as being published on the Poetry Business website, the longlist of 20 poems selected by the judges will be published in the North magazine in 2017.

Previous winners

'Exploring the Orinoco' was a winner in the 2009 Competition

The winning collections are beautifully produced, widely promoted, reviewed in high quality poetry magazines and nationalnewspapers, and entered for all eligible awards and prizes. The collections are also launched at high profile readings and distributed via bookshops across the UK.

Consequently, many previous years’ competition winners have gone on to achieve glittering careers; including Mimi Khalvati, Michael Laskey, Patrick McGuinness, Allison McVety, Pascale Petit, Kathryn Simmonds and Catherine Smith. 





The publicity and reviews took my work seriously and I gained exposure in the PBS and the broadsheets. All this was entirely unexpected and absolutely thrilling. I still feel so excited to have been picked up by smith|doorstop at an early stage of my writing life. - Daljit Nagra, winner with Oh My Rub!, which was also named a PBS Pamphlet Choice & one of the Guardian Books of the Year. 


Michael Laskey:

"It was a wonderful boost of confidence for me, winning the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. It felt like a justification of the time I spent writing and an encouragement to keep going. It was the original and only pamphlet competition back then, and so it felt particularly significant — that being judged anonymously on a group of poems, not just a single one."


Read more from the previous winners here. *}



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