Ledbury Under 18’s Poetry Competition 2020

Poetry Competition for Young People (12 – 17 years) and Children (11 years and under)

You may not be aware that the annual Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition has categories for younger poets as well as adults so we’ve created a separate page for you to make this clearer.  If you are 18 or over please go to the main Poetry Competition page.

See below for full details and prizes. Stuck for ideas? Check out these fun and useful resources:

https://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/ (The tips and advice section is extensive and very useful!)
https://www.poetry4kids.com/ (This even has a rhyming dictionary!)
http://www.languageisavirus.com/writing_prompts.php (Press the button to generate a writing prompt!)
https://www.ourcoronadiary.com/ (Poetry often starts out as prose! Or write your diary in verse!)
https://www.sparkwriters.org/get-creative/ (short videos with some writing ideas)
https://www.ministryofstories.org/get-writing/ (lots of writing tips and ideas for different kinds of writing)

Entry closes at 5.00pm, British Summer Time on Thursday 16th July.  No entries will be accepted after that date so please don’t leave it to the last minute.

Liz Berry

Judge: Liz Berry

Young Persons’ prizes (ages 12-17)

First Prize: £100 and a reading at the 2020 Festival
Second Prize: £50 and a reading at the 2020 Festival
Third Prize: £25 and a reading at the 2020 Festival

Rose Brennan, 2019 Winner, says: “I normally write poems about historical events or people, so to win third prize for a poem that was written on a subject out of my comfort zone is a massive confidence booster”.

Children’s Prizes (11 years and under)

First Prize: £25 book token and a reading at the 2020 Festival
Second Prize: £15 book token and a reading at the 2020 Festival
Third Prize: £10 book token and a reading at the 2020 Festival

(The relevant ages means age on the date of submission.)

For nearly quarter of a century, Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition has been an important first step in many poets’ careers. Jacob Polley, winner of the 2016 T.S. Eliot Award, started his career with a win at Ledbury in 2001. “Winning the Ledbury Poetry Competition in 2001 pushed me forward, towards more poems, my first book and beyond”, Jacob says.

Entering On-line

You can enter your poems online, including making payment, through the form below.  See below for postal options.

  • Ideally this file will be in a Microsoft Word format (any version, .doc or .docx) but we can also accept text (.txt) or PDF (.pdf) files if you cannot create a Word format file.
  • Do not type your name or any other details in the document, just the poem titles and the poems but please do include your name in the filename.  The judge will only see the printed copies.
  • If you enter more than one poem, each must begin on a new page in the same document. Indicate with “[new page]” if you have to send a .txt file.  If the number of poems in the file is greater than the number indicated on the form, any additional additional poems will not be considered for the competition.
  • Individual poems must be no more than 40 lines in length.
  • Please ensure that you have ALL your poem(s) in ONE suitable file ready to upload at the next step and
  • Please read the rules before submitting.

Make sure your poem titles are entered correctly into the form below and that they are ALL in the ONE file you plan to upload.  Select the correct category first (Young Person or Child) and the remainder of the form will appear.  All fields are required.

Data protection: Unless you explicitly request to go onto our emailing list we will only contact you in respect of this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition. If you want to be notified of next year’s competition and other Ledbury Poetry Festival activities please request to go onto the general emailing list. In either case we will not pass your details on to any other organisation unless required to do so by law.


Entering by Post

Don’t like online forms? If you would prefer to send your poems on paper you can download a copy of the entry form and print it out to send with your poems.

Young Person (12-17) Entry Form

Children's (under 12) Entry Form

You will need to send two copies of each poem on separate sheets of paper, as well as your payment if you enter more than one poem. Individual poems must be no more than 40 lines in length.  Please read the rules before entering and allow sufficient time for the documents to arrive by 16th July.

Entry Fees

First poem free, £1.75 for each additional poem.