Write 250 words celebrating trees

Arnos Vale star tree by Judy DarleyTrees in local public gardens and parks boost our spirits, offer a natural haven, improve air quality and willingly offer us something to hug. Sydney Gardens TREE WEEKENDER Writing Competition invites you to put your feelings about trees in public gardens and parks into just 250 words.

The deadline for entries is midnight (GMT) on Monday 1st November 2021, or whenever 125 entries have been received.

It is free to enter. Entrants are limited to two entries only – you may submit a poem and a flash story, two poems or two stories.

Sydney Gardens in Bath, UK, has been a public park for more than 100 years attracting residents and visitors alike, including Jane Austen. Once a private Georgian pleasure garden limited to those who could afford a subscription, it’s now a green jewel within the World Heritage site of the City of Bath.

A recent recipient of Heritage Lottery funds, Sydney Gardens has undergone a restoration that has been delayed by the pandemic but is now coming to fruition, which is being celebrated with a ‘Tree Weekender’ on the weekend of 27 & 28th November.

As part of this celebration of trees, you’re invited to write a flash story or poem of 250 words or under about trees in your local public garden or park.

In particular, they are seeking pieces that examine the value of trees in local parks and public gardens. They want to know the stories from where those trees came from, how they’ve been managed, cared for and loved, and what they mean to you.

Poet Samantha Walton & Charlotte Smith from the B&NES Parks and Trees Service will judge the poetry competition. Nigel Bristow and Andrew Stuck are the judges for the flash pieces.

Judges will draw up a longlist from the entered poems and stories, and all works on the list will be published on the TREE WEEKENDER web pages during November. Shortlisted poems and stories will be chosen, audio recorded and geo-located within and around Sydney Gardens to be available over the TREE WEEKENDER.

Shortlisted authors will be invited to join an exclusive nature writing on- line roundtable on Saturday 27 November, and will be invited to read their work at the TREE WEEKENDER Showcase online finale on Sunday 28th November 2021.

The winner and runner up in both the poetry and prose categories will receive a Book Token to the value of £50. They and the runners up, will each receive an artwork that illustrates their poem or story, created by Alban Low. There will also be special prizes of artwork for the best poem and story submitted by a resident living within Bath & North East Somerset.

The longlist and shortlist will be announced by Monday 22nd November.

The Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender writing competition is run by Rethinking Cities Ltd / Museum of Walking on behalf Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Find full details and terms and conditions here: https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/sites/default/files/sgtw_writingcomp_final_eligibilityrules.pdf

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Enter Winchester Poetry Prize 2021

Sunshine snail cr Judy Darley

Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 invites you to submit poetry “with a good emotional thwack.” The closing date for entries is 31st July 2021.

Entries cost £5 for first poem, £4 for subsequent poems.

One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets by Jacqueline SaphraPoet, editor, agitator, teacher, mentor and self-described word-enthusiast Jacqueline Saphra will judge entries. Jacqueline’s latest book, ‘One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets’ was published in February 2021; copies are available from Nine Arches Press.

“As I sit down excitedly with my morning coffee and who knows, perhaps a biscuit, and begin to read, I’ll be looking for poems with a good emotional thwack,” says Jacqueline. “Of course the poem should be well-crafted and consistent with itself; it can be strictly formal or wildly experimental, so long as it goes about its business with passion, integrity and intention. I’m open to all breeds of poetic power: for example, power that comes from direct expression, or from metaphor, or from the unsaid that exists in the white space. I’ll be hungry for those poems where the poet is invested in their material, where there is a piece of the poet embedded in the poem. I’m always on the hunt for that sense that the poem is knocking on the door of my heart saying ‘let me in’, until I just have to open up, a poem that yields just enough on a first reading to entice me back and will go on living inside me long after I’ve taken my eyes off the page.”

Prizes

  • First Prize: £1,000
  • Second Prize: £500
  • Third Prize: £250

Winning and commended poems will also be published in a competition anthology.

There will be a special prize-giving event on Saturday 9th October 2021. The organisers are planning for this event to be a live event in Winchester, but will move it online if required by restrictions.

The best poem by a poet living in Hampshire will receive a prize kindly donated by Warren & Son. 

Find full details here: https://www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org/prize.

Got an event, challenge, competition, opportunity or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) ICloud (dot) com.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2021

Ledbury cr John EagerSome British towns seem better suited to literary festivals than others, and Ledbury in Herefordshire is ideal – with reams of streets and architecture that the word ‘picturesque’ could have been invented for. This year, Ledbury’s annual Poetry Festival is from 2nd-11th July 2021 and invites you to the first ever hybrid Ledbury Poetry Festival with a mixture of online and in-person events. Digital events are happening across the ten days of the Festival, with the second weekend (10th-11th July) offering a full schedule of readings, workshops and open mics.

Online, you can look forward to events with Jorie Graham, Margaret Atwood, Kwame Dawes, Fred D’Aguiar, Chen Chen, Luke Kennard, Kim Addonizio, Phoebe Stuckes, Gillian Clarke, Zoë Brigley, Billy Collins, Martina Evans, Valzhyna Mort, Victoria Chang, Anthony Anaxagorou, Nikita Gill, Séan Hewitt, and John Challis, Versopolis, Ledbury Poetry Slam Online, Juliet Stevenson on Stevie Smith, readings from Ledbury Poetry Competition Winners and more events to be confirmed.

In-person events include readings, talks and performances from Julia Copus, Rosalind Hudis, Ruth Stacey, Jamie Thrasivoulou, Beth Calverley, plus community events including an interactive poetry trail.

There will also be a mixture of online and in-person workshops with Phoebe Stuckes, John Challis, Zoë Brigley, Martina Evans, Jamie Thrasivoulou, Ruth Stacey, and Rosalind Hudis.

Don’t forget to enter the LPF Poetry Competitions. Poems for the adult and under 18s (12-17 years) categories must be received on or before Thursday 15th July 2021 at 5pm British Summer Time.

The image at the very top of this post was kindly supplied by John Eager of www.visitledbury.info.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

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Wells Festival of Literature competitions

City of Wells cr Judy Darley

Wells Festival of Literature takes place from 15th-23rd October 2021, but before that they hold their annual writing competitions, with entries accepted until 30th June 2021.

The categories are short stories, poetry, children’s books and poetry by anyone aged 16-22 inclusive.

The first prize in their Open Poetry Competition will this year be £1,000. Second and third prizes will be £500 and £250 respectively.

The Short Story and Book for Children categories have the following prizes:

  • First prize = £750
  • Second prize = £300
  • Third prize = £200

There are Local Prizes of £100 each for the Short Story, Open Poetry and Book for Children competitions.

The Young Poet category the following prizes:

  • First prize = £150
  • Second prize = £75
  • Third prize = £50

All three prize winners will also receive a year’s subscription to the Poetry Society.

Short Story Competition
Entries may be on any subject and should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length.
The Short Story judge is writer of fiction and non-fiction Sally Bayley.

The fee for each entry is £6.

Open Poetry Competition
Poet, author and playwright Owen Sheers is the 2021 Open Poetry Judge. Entries may be on any subject but must not exceed 35 lines in length.

The fee for each entry is £6.

A Book for Children Competition
The judge for this category is author Dr Joanna Nadin, who has published more than 80 books for children, teenagers and adults, including the award-winning Penny Dreadful series.Entries to the Book for Children Competition should be aimed at readers between the ages of 7-16 years. You must submit the first two chapters or first twenty pages, (whichever is the shortest), together with the synopsis of up to two pages and the age range of the book specified.
The fee for each entry is £6.
Young Poets Competition
Competitors may submit only one entry and must be aged 16 to 22 inclusive, at the closing submission date on 30th June 2021. Entries may be on any subject but must not exceed 35 lines in length. The judge is poet Phoebe Stuckes.
The fee to enter is £3.

The closing date for all entries is 30th June 2021. Prizes for all four competitions will be presented on Monday 18th October 2021 during the Festival.

Find the full rules and details of how to enter.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com

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The Forward Prizes for Poetry invites entries

Arnos Vale trees cr Judy Darley

Thirty years after its launch by Bookmark, the Forward Prizes for Poetry welcomes submissions from the editors and publishers of books, magazines, online journals and competitions, published in the UK and Ireland. The submission period for entries runs to 8th March 2021.

Publishers entering the Forward Prizes for Best Collection and Best First Collection will have a further ten days to send physical copies of books, on 18th March 2021.

There are three prizes: The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000), The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000) and The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000). They are accompanied by the Forward Book of Poetry, an annual anthology which brings together the best new work published in the UK and Ireland.

In collaboration with the Creative Critics’ competition, 16 to 19 year olds are invited to write poems in response to work shortlisted for the Prizes. Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books has been an A level English set text since 2014.

The panel of judges read all the books and individual poem submissions before selecting the shortlists to be announced in June. The judges then reflect on the shortlists over the summer before announcing the winners in autumn. You can find out more about the process and eligibility by reading entry guidance and FAQs.

Will Harris RENDANG cover showing the title in red, yellow, black and blue lettering on a cream background.The Forward Prizes celebrate the best new poetry published in UK & Ireland. 2020 winners were announced in an online event, hosted by the British Library, on Sunday 25th October.

Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)
Caroline Bird The Air Year (Carcanet)

Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)
Will Harris RENDANG (Granta Poetry)

Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)
Malika Booker ‘The Little Miracles’ (Magma).

Find full details here of how to enter.

Got an event, challenge, competition, opportunity or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) ICloud (dot) com.

Submit cataclysmic poetry to Ambit

Ruin, Villahormes cr Judy DarleyAmbit invite you to submit your poetry on the theme of ‘Cataclysm’ to their Annual Poetry Competition.

According to Oxford Languages, a cataclysm is

  • ‘a large-scale and violent event in the natural world.
    “the cataclysm at the end of the Cretaceous Period”
  • a sudden violent political or social upheaval.
    “the cataclysm of the First World War”

I suspect you can come up with a few more recent examples.

The deadline for entries is 15th July.

The entry fee is £6 per poem. Submissions will be judged by poet and playwright  Fred D’Aguiar.

Winners receive £500, £250 or £100 and will be published in the October issue of Ambit. Winners and runners up will be invited to read at the October issue launch.

You can submit your work here: http://www.ambit.submittable.com/submit

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

Enter the Poetry on the Lake Competition

Carzano harbour cr Judy DarleyThere’s still time to enter the Poetry on the Lake Competition with a closing date of 31st March 2019.

There are two categories:

Silver Wyvern (max 42 lines), which will be judged by singer, songwriter and broadcaster Paul Henry, and can be on any theme and in any form.
Formal (max 40 lines) is for traditional poetic forms only, such as sonnet, sestina, or villanelle, but can be on any topic.

Prizes range from €100 to €500.

I love how much more inclusive the world of writing competitions is becoming, with optional fees to allow lower-income talents to enter! In this case, all fees are classed as donations to the competition costs, organisation and events of Poetry on the Lake, so while there’s a suggested amount, they add: “If you genuinely can’t afford the fee, send one poem for nothing. Those who can, please donate generously.”

Find full details at www.poetryonthelake.org.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

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Write to evoke memories

Severn River shadows cr Judy DarleyNational Memory Day is a partnership between Literature Works and the Poetry Archive, supported by the Alzheimer’s Society. The project is interested in the creative power of poetry to enhance the lives of people living with memory loss and their loved ones or carers.

In Memory Cafes around the UK, conversations and emotional connections are forged with the help of well-loved poems and the generation of new creative works. Quite simply, they bring light to the lives of people afflicted with dementia and other memory-diminishing illnesses and those who care for them.

To raise funds for this excellent resource, The National Memory Day Poetry Competitions invite you to submit poems which evoke the theme of MEMORIES.

This year, they’re accepting submissions to two prize categories:

The National Memory Day Poetry Prize, sponsored by Literature Works, and the Primary Carer Voice Prize, sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Society. The latter category is open to those who have direct experience of caring for someone with memory loss. In each category there are three awards:

  • 1st prize of £700
  • 2nd prize of £200
  • 3rd prize of £100

Poems should be no longer than 40 lines and can be submitted either by post or online.

Submissions are charged at £3 for a single poem and £2 for each additional poem.

The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 5th October 2018. This year’s judge is poet and nature writer Miriam Darlington.

Find full details of how to enter.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

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Gemini Magazine Poetry Open competition

Arnos Vale kissing trees cr Judy DarleyGemini Magazine is now accepting entries for its seventh annual Poetry Open competition. With a deadline of 2nd January 2018, this offers the perfect chance to get next year off to a poetic start!

Entry costs $7.

The grand prize is $1,000. Second place wins $100 and four honorable mentions will each receive $25. All six finalists will be published online in the March 2018 issue of Gemini. The entry fee is $7 for each batch of three poems.

Editor David Bright says: “We are open to any type of poetry, any subject matter, any length: prose, rhyming, free verse, ballads, sonnets, haiku . . . Scroll down the Poetry Open page to see the broad range of work from previous winners and finalists.”

Find full details here http://www.gemini-magazine.com/poetryopen.html

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at Judy(at)socket creative(dot)com.

Enter a comic poetry contest

Possible wergleflomp spied at Art in Action

While I’m a fan of sensitive, thought-provoking poetry, there’s definitely something to be said for an intelligent comical poem. Just writing one can lift your spirits – especially necessary through these wet winter storms.

The Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, sponsored by Winning Writers, seeks to celebrate the art of writing poems that make others smile. The creature at the top of is, I believe, a possible Wergle Flomp, spied in the wilds of Art in Action last year.

There’s no fee to enter the writing competition, so what have you got to lose?

Your poem may be of any length. Have a read of last year’s winners, to get some inspiration, then let your imagination run riot, and unleash your talent for comic verse.

Make sure you upload your masterpiece to winningwriters.com/wergle before the submission deadline of April 1st 2017 (April Fools’ Day – how apt is that?)

Jendi Reiter and Lauren Singer are the judges. Top prize is $1,000 and there will be ten Honorable Mentions of $100 each.

All winners will be published on the Winning Writers website.