The Walter Swan Poetry Prize 2019

The Walter Swan Poetry Prize is a competition for writers of poetry aged 18 and over. The poetry prize is run by Ilkley Literature Festival in partnership with The Walter Swan Trust. Established in memory of the writer Walter Swan, the Trust promotes all forms of creative writing.

In previous years, prize winners have been praised for their unique voices, precise use of language, powers of observation and use of fresh imagery, and qualities such as lyricism and musicality.

“some artful, observational poems where the writers seemed to be painting with words” – Colette Bryce, Judge and Ilkley Literature Festival’s 2019 Poet in Residence

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How to Enter

The Walter Swan Competition is currently closed for entries.

The competition will open for entries again in Spring 2020.

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Prizes

1st Prize         £200
2nd Prize         £100
3rd Prize          £75

The winning poets will be invited to read their poems at the October festival.

Extra incentives for writers aged 18-25

The poetry prize is run by Ilkley Literature Festival in partnership with The Walter Swan Trust. Established in memory of writer Walter Swan, the Trust promotes all forms of creative writing and has a particular interest in providing opportunities to young and new writers.

In this spirit, the Walter Swan Poetry Prize is providing extra incentives for poets aged 18-25 years to enter the competition. Firstly, we’re making it easier for younger writers to enter the competition by reducing the entry fees for those aged 25 and under to just £2.50 per poem.

Secondly, for no additional fee, entrants aged 18-25 will automatically be entered into consideration for a brand-new subcategory prize for young adult writers, as well as for the main prize (it will be possible for an eligible entrant to win both!).

Secondly, for no additional fee, entrants aged 18-25 will automatically be entered into consideration for a brand-new subcategory prize for young adult writers, as well as for the main prize (it will be possible for an eligible entrant to win both!).

The top placed poems within the 18-25 years subcategory will be decided by festival’s Apprentice Poet-in-Residence, usually an emerging young poet themselves.

18 – 25 years subcategory prizes:
1st Prize      £100
2nd Prize       £75
3rd Prize       £50

The winning poets in the 18-25 years subcategory will also be invited to read at the October festival.

 

Essential Info for All Entrants

  • Entries can be on any subject.
  • Poems should be not more than 30 lines (excluding the title).
  • Entries received from anyone aged 18-25 will automatically be entered for consideration in the 18-25 years subcategory as well as the main Walter Swan Poetry Prize.
  • The prizes are judged separately, and it is possible for an entrant aged 18-25 years to win or be placed in both prizes.

Fees

  • The entry fee is £5 per poem for writers aged over 25 years or £2.50 per poem for writers aged 18-25 years.
  • You can send as many entries as you like.
  • Fees are payable online or by cheque made out to ‘Ilkley Literature Festival Ltd.

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Terms and Conditions

Eligibility

The competition is open to anyone, including non-UK applicants (Ilkley Literature Festival is unable to offer any financial assistance for winners to attend the prizegiving), aged 18 years and over.  Non-UK Residents are welcome to enter the competition but entries from overseas can only be submitted online. Please note there is a separate poetry competition for young people aged 12-18.

Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published on any website or online forum, broadcast nor won or been placed in any other competition (as at January 2020).

Entries submitted posthumously will not be eligible.

Copyright

Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but by entering the competition the entrant agrees that Ilkley Literature Festival will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning poems and stories, (including those of the runners up), on the Festival website or as ‘posters’, postcards and/or celebratory pamphlets for display and distribution during the Festival and the entrant waives his/her rights in relation to such publication to the extent that he/she is able to do so.

Judging

Walter Swan Poetry Prize Judge: Ilkley Literature Festival’s 2020.
18-25 Years Judge: Ilkley Literature Festival’s Apprentice Poet in Residence 2020.

The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. Judging will be fair and unbiased. Experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the shortlists.
The organisers reserve the right to change the panel of judges without notice and not to award prizes if, in the opinion of the judges, such action is justified.

Results

Prize winners will be notified in September 2020 and will be invited to receive their prize and read their work at the October festival.

The list of prize winners will be displayed on the website after the October festival.

Please Note

Entry implies acceptance of all the above rules.
Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification.