Winchester Poetry Prize 2023 | June | July

Winchester Poetry Prize 2023 | International Poetry Competition 2023

opens midday on Mon 3rd April​


First Prize: £1,000

2nd Prize: £500 

3rd Prize: £250

A prize is also available for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.

​Judge: Zaffar Kunial

Entry fee: £6 for first poem, £5 for subsequent poems

Closing Date: 31 July 2023 (11:59pm)

The longlist will be announced in mid September and we will announce the winners live at Winchester Poetry Festival on Sunday 15 October 2023. 

Winning and commended poems will be published in a competition anthology that will be available on the day.

Winchester Poetry Prize is generously sponsored by:

Best poem by a poet living in Hampshire will receive a prize kindly donated by

All the information you need to enter the Winchester Poetry Prize is on this page.
Please scroll down to read the RULES and HOW TO ENTER

Pay it forward – Free entries for poets on low incomes.  

We have a pay-it-forward scheme originally set up by 2020’s competition winner, Lewis Buxton. This enables those who can afford to enter the competition to support emerging poets who cannot. Details of how you can contribute to, or benefit from, this scheme can be found below.

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Yorkshire. He was a recipient of Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize and his first poetry collection, Us, published by Faber & Faber in 2018 appeared on a number of shortlists including the Costa Poetry Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His second collection, England’s Green, published by Faber in 2022, was named as The Sunday Times best poetry book of the year.  

Zaffar says “I’m really looking forward to reading your poems, and whatever their subject and whatever their style. Good luck!”

How to enter

To enter please first read the competition rules. (Scroll down for more information)

When entering via email:
  • Attach your poem/s to your submission email as a Word Document.
  • In your submission email, please include: 

           a: your name,  address and telephone number

           b: a list of the titles of the poems submitted
           c: where you heard about the competition

           d: the name on the Paypal account used/your PayPal transaction reference number

           e. if you are entering under, or contributing to, our Pay It Forward scheme

  • Due to the high volume of entries, we are unable to acknowledge receipt of all entries.
When entering by post:
  • Type each individual poem on a separate sheet of A4 paper. (Don’t write your name on these sheets.)
  • Send 2 copies of each poem.
  • On a separate sheet of A4 paper please provide:

           a: your name,  address and telephone number

           b: a list of the titles of the poems submitted
           c: where you heard about the competition

           d. if you are entering under, or contributing to, our Pay It Forward scheme.

  • Click to Download our Coversheet if you’d prefer 
  • Enclose a cheque payable to ‘Winchester Poetry Festival’. (Note: ‘Festival’ , not ‘Prize.’)
  • Send your poems (2 copies), entry Coversheet and cheque in an envelope clearly marked ‘Winchester Poetry Prize’ to: Winchester Poetry Festival c/o University Of Winchester, The Post Room, Sparkford Road, Winchester, SO22 4NR
  • Please ensure you pay the correct postage. We will be unable to pay surcharges and your entries may be returned by Royal Mail.
  • If you would like your entry acknowledged, please enclose a stamped SAE.


  • Opening date: midday on 3 April 2023. Entries received before this time will not be considered
  • Closing date: midnight on 31 July 2023. Entries received after this time will not be considered.
  • The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
  • Entries may be submitted via email or by post.
  • Poems may be on any subject and in any form or style.
  • They must be typed and not longer than 40 lines (excluding title).
  • Poems must be in English, must be the entrant’s own work. They may not be the translated work of another poet.
  • Poems must not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere (including online).
  • Poems must not have been submitted for or won any other poetry competition at the time of submission. Poems may be submitted for other competitions after the closing date, but entrants must withdraw their poems from the Winchester Poetry Festival in the event of being shortlisted for any other prize. 
  • Entry fee: £6 for first poem, £5 for subsequent poems in a single submission.
  • A number of free entries are available for poets to whom an entry fee would be a barrier. Online entrants can select the option to subsidise fees for other poets under the ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme.
  • Do not put your name or any other form of identification on your poem. All poems are judged anonymously.
  • Our judge will read all qualifying entries.
  • No person may win more than one cash prize, though more than one poem may feature in the list of Commended and Highly Commended poems.
  • No changes may be made to a poem once it has been submitted.
  • The decision of the judge is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Winchester Poetry Festival Trustees, employees or associates, or members of their families, may not enter.
  • We will contact the longlisted poets by email or post in mid September 2023. The result will be announced live as part of the Winchester Poetry Festival, on Sunday 15 October 2023.
  • Travel expenses to read at the prize-giving in Winchester are not covered.
  • Your entry in the competition indicates acceptance of these rules.

Click here for Participate | More Details

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