One of Britain’s biggest poetry competitions is back – and going global

Photograph: Taylor Ann Wright on Unsplash
4 Jan 2019 @ 10.40 am
| Competition

It began in York and now it’s going international.

Today we officially launch the York Literature Festival / YorkMix poetry competition 2019.


The judge for this year’s competition is Clare Shaw.

And for the first time since the competition started seven years ago, international entries will be accepted.

The closing date for entries is Sunday, February 24, 2019.

Entry and prizes

The first prize is £600, with a runner-up award of £150, a third prize of £75 and a fourth prize of £50.

All entrants are eligible for the top prizes. A £100 award will go to the best poem from a non-UK entrant.

The Helen Cadbury Prize of £50 – formerly The York Prize – will be awarded to an excellent poem from an entrant with a York (YO) postcode.

At the judge’s discretion, up to ten Highly Commended and 15 Commended poems will each win their writer a certificate.

Poets may enter as many poems as they wish. The 2019 entry fee is:

  • £7.50 for a single poem
  • £12 for two poems
  • £15 for three poems
  • £20 for four poems
  • £22.50 for five poems.

There is no limit to the number of poems that can be submitted (to enter more than five poems, you will need to make a separate submission).

Enter here

When you enter you will be directed to PayPal where you can pay by debit or credit card, or via a PayPal account.

On pressing submit, please allow a few moments to be directed to the PayPal website.

On pressing submit, please allow a few moments to be directed to the PayPal website.

About Clare Shaw

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This year’s judge is Clare Shaw, identified by the prestigious Arvon Foundation as ‘one of the country’s most dynamic young poets’.

There’s plenty of evidence for that judgement in Flood, her stunning third collection which was published last year.

The inspiration for the collection came from the 2015 floods which hit Clare’s home town of Hebden Bridge. But it is about so much more than just the deluge. Clare’s own brilliant use of metaphor is perhaps the best clue to what she may be looking for among this year’s entries.

Her publisher, Bloodaxe Books, wrote:

“The territory of Clare Shaw’s third collection isn’t one she chose herself, but one which chose her: the flooded valley and the ruined home…

“Flood offers an eye-witness account of those events, from rainfall to rescue, but ripples out from there. Intimately interwoven with the breakdown of a relationship, flooding serves as a powerful metaphor for wider experiences of loss, destruction and recovery.”

In Write Out Loud, critic and author John Irving Clarke wrote:

“Shaw demonstrates her command of subtle rhythm and intriguing internal rhyme. Sometimes deceptively simple in their initial appearance, on further reading all of these poems reveal a deep level of profundity, leaving a mark as indelible as the high-water line of a receding flood.”
For a flavour of Clare’s own poetry, visit her website.

Photograph: Bloodaxe Books