It’s back! The York Poetry Prize returns for its eighth year

2 Feb 2020 @ 8.48 pm
| Competition

** Entries are now closed **

Today we officially launch the The York Poetry Prize 2020.

The major literary prize competition returns for its eighth year, with some fantastic prizes for the winning poems.

As in previous years, this prestigious competition is run by YorkMix, in association with York Literature Festival.

The judge for this year’s competition is Sean O’Brien.

The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday, 19 April, 2020. The full rules are here.

About Sean O’Brien

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This year’s judge is Sean O’Brien, winner of both the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize, awarded for his brilliant 2007 collection, The Drowned Book.

Also a critic and playwright, O’Brien’s other prizes include The Eric Gregory Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Cholmondeley Award, and the E.M. Forster Award.

O’Brien grew up in Hull where he attended Hymers College before studying at Selwyn College, Cambridge University.

Since 1990, he has taught at Newcastle University, where he is Professor of Creative Writing.

In 2017 he was the Weidenfeld Visiting Professor of Comparative European Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford.

The following year, his ninth poetry collection, Europa, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

His current projects include It Says Here, a double collection, including both shorter poems and the book-length poem, Hammersmith, to be published by Picador in May.

He is somehow also managing not only to find the time to judge our competition, but also to complete translation of the complete works of Abai, the Kazakh National Poet.

Described by The Poetry Archive as ‘a central figure in the contemporary poetry world,’ we are proud to have Sean O’Brien as our 2020 judge.

Sean O’Brien. Photograph: Gerry Wardle

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. A fifth prize of £40 has been added this year.

All entrants are eligible for the top prizes.

A £100 award, the International Prize, will go to the best poem from a non-UK entrant. (If a non-UK entrant is the overall winner or runner-up, the International Prize will be awarded to the next best non-UK entry.)

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. (If a YO-Postcode entrant wins one of the top cash prizes, the York Prize will be awarded to the next best YO-postcode entry.)

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

Poets may enter as many poems as they wish.
The 2020 entry fee remains pegged at last year’s rate:

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

To enter more than five poems, poets have to make separate submissions.

Enter here

Entries are now closed