Big prizes to be won by poets in the East Riding

July 08, 2019

The East Riding Festival of Words will be back in October with three days of exciting events – but in the meantime, the Festival of Words Poetry Competition is already open.

This year’s theme is ‘My Mind, My Thoughts’, and entries will be judged by a panel of published Yorkshire poets led by James Nash. The closing date for entries is Saturday, 30 November, 2019.

All poems entered are submitted anonymously, so each is judged on its own merits.

The winners will be invited to read their poems at a special event in January, 2020 at North Bridlington Library. The prizes will be The Larkin Prize of £500, awarded by the Philip Larkin Society to the poem which the judges feel shows the most imaginative use of language and poetic form. There will also be East Riding adult prizes of £200 for second place, and £100 for third, plus junior prizes of £75 for secondary school pupils and £50 for primary school pupils; plus four highly commended prizes of £25 each, two for adults and one each for primary and secondary aged children.

Head judge James Nash is a writer and poet, who recently visited Bridlington Central Library. Sharing his time between Leeds and Bridlington, his third collection of poems, Coma Songs, was published in 2003 and reprinted in 2006. In 2012, his selected poems ‘A Bit of an Ice Breaker’ and new collection ‘Some Things Matter’ were published by Valley Press.

‘Cinema Stories’, written with poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard was published in 2015, celebrating the history of cinema in Leeds. His most recent collection, ‘A Bench for Billie Holliday’ was published in 2018.

Other judges will be Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Wendy Pratt, with James Booth from the Philip Larkin Society.

Councillor Shaun Horton, portfolio holder for tourism, culture and leisure, said : “This is a prestigious competition with valuable prizes for budding poets in the East Riding. It acts as a superb curtain raiser for the Festival of Words later in the year, and I hope it will prove very popular once again this year.”

Entries can be made online at They cost £3 for adults, and schoolchildren of any age can enter free of charge.

Follow the East Riding Festival of Words on social media @ ERWordfest.

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