You don’t have to be Tennyson
Just talented

All we ask is that you please keep poems to 42 lines, max. You can, of course, write less. In addition to the prize money, the top three poems are automatically entered into the Forward Prize For Poetry’s best single poem competition, with the chance to win a further £1000. This exclusive award is not open to the public. You can write about absolutely anything but whatever your rhyme or reason, we want to read your poetry.

First prize: £5,000

The winning poem features in the Bridport Prize anthology which opens access to other competitions. You will be invited to the awards lunch in Bridport, have a chance to chat to the judges, meet agents and take part in ongoing publicity.

Second prize: £1,000

Your poem features in the Bridport Prize anthology which opens access to other competitions. You will be invited to the awards lunch in Bridport with a chance to chat to the judges, meet agents and take part in ongoing publicity.

Third prize: £500

Your poem will feature in the Bridport Prize anthology which opens access to other competitions. You will be invited to the awards lunch in Bridport with a chance to chat to the judges, meet agents and take part in ongoing publicity.

Highly Commended 10 x £100

Background Elements

The Prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English aged 16 and over at the time of the closing date (the novel award has different criteria. See the novel page for details).

Entries must be entirely your own work. Any evidence to the contrary will result in immediate disqualification.

Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast, have won or been placed (2nd, 3rd, runner up etc) in any other competition.

If your entry has been long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions, and provided it has not won a prize or been published, it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but will become ineligible should they win a prize elsewhere or be published prior to the date of prize giving. Entry fees will not be refunded.

You must inform us immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere.

Entries submitted posthumously are not eligible.

Please ensure you read the rules carefully before entering the competition.

Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification.

IMPORTANT: All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document.

Disqualification

We disqualify entries if they are named or over the word limit. If you forget to add details – title, line or word count – your entry will NOT be disqualified.

General

Entries can be on any subject in any style or form. We do not recommend poems and stories written for children. You can enter any number of poems, short stories, flash fiction stories or novels in each category. Please check you are submitting the correct version of your work before uploading as mistakes cannot be rectified later. If you find you have submitted the wrong version or have made a mistake in the work, you can withdraw it and resubmit a corrected version with the word FINAL included in the file name. Please note a further fee would be payable. Entries can be withdrawn by notification in writing. Entry fees will not be refunded.

Deadline

The deadline date for entries is 12 midnight (UK time) on 31st May 2021. Postal entries postmarked 31st May but received later will be accepted.

Length

Poetry: 42 lines max. No minimum. Title not included in the line count. Dedications not included in the line count. Lines between text / stanzas are not counted.

Format

  • Add the line count to the top right of the first page. The title is not included in the line count, nor are dedications, nor are spaces between stanzas
  • Entries must be typed. We do not accept handwritten submissions
  • Do not add cover or title pages
  • Do not send illustrated work
  • Use any font, 12pt, black
  • Single line spaced, except between stanzas where it should be double
  • If the poem runs to two pages, number both pages centre bottom
  • Save the file as a Microsoft Word document – .doc or .docx. We also accept file types .rtf, .pdf, .txt. Maximum allowed file size is 2Mb
  • The file name should be the title of the poem only, typed exactly the same as on the document, for example: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
  • Do not include your name in the file title or it will be disqualified
  • Do not put Bridport entry / Bridport poem entry etc in the file title
  • For untitled pieces, save the document with the first line of the poem instead

Fees

£10 per poem

Judging

The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. Judging is fair and unbiased. The Bridport Prize reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.

Copyright

Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author but the Bridport Prize has unrestricted rights to publish the winning and highly commended poems, short stories, flash fiction stories and extracts from the opening chapters of the long-listed novels in the annual winners’ anthologies and any relevant promotional material.

Results & Awards

Winners and highly commended poets will be notified by email in September. The prize-giving ceremony will be held on Saturday 17 October at Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset, UK. Results will be posted on the website on 19 October 2020.

To receive the judges’ reports (on winning entries only) and full results please enclose an A5 stamped addressed envelope marked RESULTS. Overseas entrants: please send an international reply coupon from your Post Office – not stamps – or check our website for the list of winners after 19 October.

Receipts

Postal entries: enclose a stamped, self addressed postcard marked ACKNOWLEDGEMENT if you require receipt of entry. Overseas entries: please send an international reply coupon – not stamps – from your Post Office. Online entries: confirmed by the email receipt of your payment to WorldPay or PayPal plus an email from the Bridport Prize. Please check your spam folder as emails can land there. It is NOT possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email.

PLEASE DO

  • Carefully read the rules, entry requirements and eligibility before submission
  • Check you’re submitting the latest version of your piece
  • Check spam as our emails might land there
  • Get in touch with any questions well before the 31 May deadline. For website & submissions [email protected]  All other enquiries [email protected]

PLEASE DON’T

  • Worry if you omit the word or line count. You won’t be disqualified
  • Be alarmed if your entry confirmation email isn’t immediate. Log in and check your order history. All submitted entries are listed in date order
  • Get concerned if your postal entry fee hasn’t been taken. We open entries in batches and a delay is not unusual

Q: Can I make changes after submission?
A: No. If you want to submit a more recent version you have to enter again and pay the fee. We can withdraw your original entry on request.

Q: Do you accept email attachments?
A: No. You can only submit online or by post.

Q: An earlier version of my work was shortlisted in another competition but I’ve changed it. Can I submit it?
A: If the work was not published, you did not receive a cash prize and it has been substantially altered including a title change, then yes it is eligible.

Q: My work was long listed in another competition and published in an online anthology. Can I submit it?
A: No. Previously published work is not eligible.

Q: My work was previously shortlisted in this competition. Can I re-submit it?
A: Yes.

Q: Are simultaneous submissions to other competitions allowed?
A: Yes, though if you submit your entry at the same time, it’s on the understanding you will immediately withdraw from the Bridport Prize if it wins elsewhere. Equally, if you win with us you should withdraw from any other competitions.

Q: How many pieces can I enter?
A: You can enter any number of pieces in each category.

Q: What about copyright?
A: Worldwide copyright remains with the author but we have unrestricted rights to first publish winning and highly commended poems, short stories and flash fiction in the Winners’ Anthology and extracts from the long listed novels in the Novel Longlist Anthology. Plus we use extracts for promotional material.

Q: Must entries be unpublished?
A: Entries to categories – except the novel – are not eligible if published. Novels that have been self-published are eligible.

Q: Does a poem on my blog count as publication?
A: Yes.

Q: Are translations allowed?
A: An author’s translation of their work into English is eligible but someone else’s translation of the work is not.

Q: My piece was previously published in another language. Can I submit it in translation?
A: Yes, providing substantial amendments have been made to the original work including a title change and it was not published in the UK.

Q: How do you sort entries if they’re anonymous?
A: Postal entries are coded then matched to an entry form once the judges have made their decision. Online entries are automatically tagged with a number connected to personal details.

Q: Can I use a pen name?
A: Yes. But please submit your piece in your real name. When winners are selected we check what name you want to use.

Q: Can I send the same piece I entered in last year’s competition?
A: Yes.

Q: I accidentally included my details on the piece. Will it be disqualified?
A: Yes. You need to start over.

Q: Are entries returned after judging?
A: No. They are deleted or shredded.

Q: When are winners notified?
A: During September. The full results are posted on the website and social media . The shortlists and novel long list are available as downloads. All winning and shortlisted poetry, short story and flash fiction writers will be contacted during September.

Q: How do I get an entry form?
A: Download and print it from our website or email [email protected] to get one posted.

Q: What happens if I send my postal entry close to the deadline?
A: Entries postmarked on 31 May deadline date but arriving later will be accepted. Late entries are not.

Q: Are titles, epigraphs and dedications part of the poetry word count?
A: No.

Q: What if I forget to add a word count?
A: Don’t worry. We check if the work is shortlisted.

Ready to submit your entry?

I know the excitement you feel having written the poem, and the courage required to enter this competition.

Roger McGough, Judge 2015
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