Walter Swan Poetry Prize 2021

The Walter Swan Poetry Prize is a competition for writers of poetry aged 18 and over. The prize is run by Ilkley Literature Festival in partnership with The Walter Swan Trust. Now in its seventh year, the prize was established in memory of writer Walter Swan.

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.

2021 Prize Winners

The main prize was judged by Ian Duhig, ILF 2021 Poet in Residence.

1st Prize – Raptor’s Bill by Linda Burnett
2nd Prize – Back Story by Julia Deakin
3rd Prize – The Year of Two Winters by Emma Storr
Highly Commended – The Last Trip Home by Michael Farry, Refraction by Louisa Rimmer and The Curve We Make by Michael Rose.

2021 Prize 18-25 years Category

The 18-25 years sub-category was judged by ILF 2021 Apprentice Poet in Residence Rheima Robinson.

1st Prize – The Return: Came Home All The Same by Francesca Wills
2nd Prize – Ambulance by Abigail Shaw
3rd Prize – A Return to Exile by Ngoi Hui Chien
Highly Commended – Return of the Repressed Relationship by Ellie Breen.

Main Prize Judge Ian Duhig said of his selections:

“All these poems from winners to special commendations are excellent in their
different ways and if I had to account for my grading of them I could only say it
was the intensity of the prize winners’ work that made the difference. That is not to
say you couldn’t argue with my decisions: what I do want to say is that they are all
winners and if I didn’t have to choose between them I wouldn’t have, but invited
them all to sit at a round table to be celebrated.”

2022 Walter Swan Poetry Prize

The 2022 Walter Swan Competition will open for entries May 2022. Details of the Prize and how to enter will be announced shortly.

If you have any queries about the prize, please contact

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