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New Writers Poetry Competition 2023

*** The New Writers Poetry Competition 2023 is now closed for entries – see the winners here ***

Thank you to everyone who has entered. The judging process begins now and the results will be published on 13th October 2023 (at the latest). 

Welcome to the New Writers Poetry Competition 2023. Open to poets from around the world, we’re offering a top prize of £1,000, a second prize of £300 and a third prize of £200. The deadline is midday on Wednesday 12th July 2023 and £1.00 from each entry will be donated to First Story (see below for details of the charity’s work).

Reedsy Best Writing Competitions

New Writers Poetry Competition 2023

At A Glance:

  • Deadline: Midday (UK time) on Wednesday 12th July 2023
  • Entry Fee: £10 per entry; £18 for two entries*; £25 for three entries*
  • Prizes: 1st Place: £1,000; 2nd Place: £300; 3rd Place: £200
  • Head Judge: Andy Craven-Griffiths
  • Publication: The three winning entries will be published on the website
  • Word Limit: 40 lines (excluding title and line spaces)
  • Charity: £1 from each entry will be donated to First Story (England’s leading creative writing charity for young people)
  • Please read the full Poetry Competition Terms & Conditions before entering.
  • Winners and authors who have made the shortlist will be notified by email no later than Friday 13 October 2023. The announcement of winners and shortlisted entries will also be made no later than this date.
  • *Multiple entries must be submitted together to receive the discount


  1. Click on the relevant button based on how many poems you want to enter (maximum three).
  2. Fill in your name, your email address, pen name/alias (optional) and the title of your poem(s) in the Entry Form.
  3. Upload your poem(s) by clicking ‘Choose File’, ensuring it is in one of the supported file types (Microsoft Word Document, OpenDocument Text, or PDF)
  4. Read the Competition Rules, Terms & Conditions and tick the box to confirm you have done so and that you agree to them.
  5. Click to sign up to the monthly newsletter (optional).
  6. Click your preferred payment method (both options are administered by PayPal) and follow the instructions to pay the relevant entry fee: £10.00 (one entry), £18.00 (two entries) or £25.00 (three entries).
  7. Once you have submitted your payment, your entry/entries will be sent to the judges at and you will receive two confirmation emails, one from PayPal confirming your payment and one from New Writers confirming receipt of your entry (or entries).
  8. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours (and it’s not in your spam folder), send us a message:

Click on the applicable button below and you will be taken to the appropriate form to submit your poem(s):

About our Head Judge – Andy Craven-Griffiths

Andy Craven-Griffiths is a writer and performer based in Leeds, UK, and works in various forms. 

As a poet, he has won poetry slams including Glastonbury, Manchester Lit Fest, and Munichslam. He has had poetry broadcast on TV and radio (BBC 2, Radio 1, Radio 4) and has published poems in various poetry journals.

Andy began playwriting as one of Radio 3’s Verb New Voices, 2016. He wrote and produced his first play, Joygernaut, which toured nationally from 2018 to 2020. In 2022, he completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.

With his band, Middleman, he toured extensively, playing live sessions for Radio 1, 6 Music, and XFM. The band’s music was widely synchronised (NBA2K11, Channel 4, Channel 5).

As an educator, Andy has worked for Arvon, the NHS, Oxford University Press, The British Council, Rethink Mental Health charity and as an ambassador for First Story. He has run workshops for over 50,000 people over the past fifteen years. 

Head Judge Q&A:

1. What are you looking for in the entries?

I’m looking for surprises, for images and ideas that are clear, without being clichéd.

2. Which poets do you most admire?

My brother, John Berkavitch. After all, he got me interested in writing in the first place! I love Tony Hoagland for his mixture of the everyday with the profound, and his vulnerability and willingness to look at himself critically.

In more contemporary and local (to Britain) terms, collections I’ve loved recently have been Rachel Long’s My Darling from The Ashes, Hannah Lowe’s The Kids, Joelle Taylor’s The Woman Who Was Not There, and Emily Harrison’s pamphlet Grief Stitches

3. Do you have any tips for aspiring poets?

Lean into the personal and the specific. I believe the more specific and concrete we make our poems, the more universally they can be felt.

A couple of tips other poets have given me that I can pass on are:

  • Make your images clear. Clarity of image is more important than ‘fanciness’ (thanks, Neil Rollinson).
  • Don’t be afraid to include big ideas, or more than one idea in a poem (courtesy of Fiona Sampson).

4. What gives you more of a buzz, performing your work in front of an audience or leading poetry workshops for kids?

I love the buzz of writing something that pleases or surprises me, most of all. That’s the biggest tip I could give for any writing, which I rediscovered while studying for my PhD: write to entertain yourself first and foremost. Don’t try to guess what will please others as you have direct access to your own emotional and intellectual responses, but not to anybody else’s. 

The buzz of performing is different, it’s one of connecting, of a good conversation when you’re vulnerable and aren’t rejected. Or sometimes just of feeling praised, when the response is positive!