Poetry Prize: £10,000*
Entry fee: £17.50
Deadline for Entries: 14th September 2018
Chair of Poetry Judges: Adam O'Riordan

£10,000 prize for the best portfolio of three to five poems (maximum combined length: 120 lines). Open internationally to new and established writers aged 16 or over (no upper age limit).

2018 Manchester Writing Competition winners announced

The £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prize winners have been revealed at a gala ceremony hosted by Carol Ann Duffy celebrating ten years of the awards. Read about the event, and find out who won on our news feed.

Read our latest news

Manchester Poetry Prize 2018 Short-list


Zillah Bowes

Zillah is a writer and filmmaker. She has won the Wordsworth Trust Prize and Poems on the Buses Competition, and was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Alpine Fellowship and Listowel Poetry Awards. She has received a Creative Wales Award and was a Hay Festival Writer at Work. Her poems have been published in Mslexia, Wasafiri, The North and The Next Review, among others. Her films include Small Protests, nominated for a Grierson Award, which won the Current Short Cuts Award. She is writing a first poetry collection and several screenplays. Zillah is based in Wales and works regularly in London.

Katie Hale

Born in Cumbria, Katie’s debut pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017. She has won the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Buzzwords Poetry Competition, and in 2019 will undertake residencies at The Wordsworth Trust, Passa Porta (Brussels) and the MacDowell Colony (New Hampshire, USA). Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Review, The North and Interpreter’s House, among others. Katie's debut novel, My Name is Monster, will be published by Canongate in 2019. She runs creative writing workshops in schools, and is working on a first full collection of poetry.

Libby Hart 

Libby Hart is an Australian author of three collections of poetry: Fresh News from the Arctic (winner of the Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize), This Floating World (shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and The Age Book of the Year Awards, and longlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards), and Wild (shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards and named one of the Books of the Year for the Australian Book Review, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald). Libby is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Maggie Millner 

Maggie Millner is a poet and teacher from rural upstate New York, USA. She is the recipient of fellowships from Poets & Writers, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and elsewhere. Maggie holds degrees in creative writing from New York University and Brown University and teaches in the Writing Program at Rutgers University. She lives with her cat in Brooklyn, New York.

Molly Underwood

Molly Underwood graduated with a degree in English from Queens’, Cambridge in 2014, and has spent most of her time travelling and working abroad since then, in Spain, Ireland and Vietnam. Last year she returned to the U.K. to complete a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Theory. She is currently living and writing in London. 

Read the 2018 short-listed poems:


Poetry Prize Judges 2018


Gillian Clarke

Gillian Clarke was born in Cardiff and lives in Ceredigion. Her work has been on the GCSE and A Level exam syllabus for the past thirty years, and she performs her poetry regularly for Poetry Live. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold medal for Poetry in 2010, the Wilfred Owen Award in 2012. She has written for radio, and translated poetry and prose from Welsh. The Gathering/Yr Helfa, written for the National Theatre of Wales, was performed on Snowdon in September, 2014. Her collection, Ice, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize in 2012. She was National Poet of Wales from 2008 to 2016.

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, she has received the Cholmondley Award and an Honorary Doctorate from SOAS. Her collections include Postcards from god, I speak for the devil, The terrorist at my table, Leaving Fingerprints, Over the Moon and Luck Is the Hook. She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong, and also scripts and directs video films, many of them for non-government organisations working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children in India.  

Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester, where she is Professor of Contemporary Poetry and Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children's Verse, the Whitbread, Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America. She was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 2009. She was made a DBE in the 2015 New Year Honours list.

Adam O'Riordan

‌Adam O'Riordan is Academic Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met and has chaired the Manchester Poetry Prize panel since 2012. In 2008, he became the Wordsworth Trust Centre for British Romanticism’s youngest ever poet-in-residence and his first collection, In the Flesh, won a 2011 Somerset Maugham Award. His debut collection of short stories The Burning Ground was published by Bloomsbury in the UK and W.W. Norton & Company in the USA, and his second collection of poems A Herring Famine published by Chatto, in 2017. 

Terms and Conditions (the rules)


  1. The Manchester Writing Competition: The Manchester Poetry Prize 2018 (the "Competition") is organised by the Manchester Metropolitan University ("Manchester Met").
  2. The Competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over who is not excluded by these Rules. There is no upper age limit for entry.
  3. Members of Manchester Met staff (who may also be students) and their spouses are excluded from being eligible to enter.
  4. The deadline for entries is 5pm (UK time) on 14th September 2018. Entries received after this deadline will not be considered but fees may still be charged. The online entry system may become busy as the deadline nears, so entrants are advised not to leave submission until the last minute.
  5. Entrants must submit a portfolio comprising a minimum of three and a maximum of five poems. There is no line limit – minimum or maximum – for each individual poem, but the overall maximum length of the poems combined must not exceed 120 lines. Titles, blank lines and page numbers are not included in the line count.
  6. Entrants may submit as many portfolios of three to five poems as they wish, but each portfolio must be submitted as a separate entry with a separate entry form and a separate entry fee.
  7. All work submitted for consideration can be on any subject, and written in any style or form, but must be the entrant's own original writing, and should not have published in print or have been broadcast on or before 31st December 2018. Work which has been published on public websites, blogs or social media sites can be submitted, but must be taken down before the date of entry and must not be uploaded again on or before 31st December 2018. Work that has been circulated via, or uploaded to, closed forums (e.g. for the purposes of workshopping on writing courses) can be submitted. Work found to be published in print or to have been broadcast or to have appeared on a website outside of these terms will be disqualified without refund of the entry fee.
  8. All work must be typed or word-processed, clearly legible and written in English. Entrants should not include illustrations or artwork. Pages submitted by post should be stapled, paper-clipped or loose, so that they can be separated easily for photocopying/scanning. Beyond these stipulations, presentation (e.g. font and spacing) is at the entrant’s discretion.
  9. Translations into English of work written in other languages can be accepted, provided that the source text is the entrant's own original work and has not been published (in line with point 7, above); translations into English of work published (in line with point 7, above) elsewhere in other languages will not be accepted.
  10. Entries will be accepted only by post or online via the competition website. Submission via other means (e.g. email) will not be accepted.
  11. Postal entries will only be valid if accompanied by a completed entry form. Postal entrants should enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope or postcard if they would like acknowledgement of entry; acknowledgement will normally be sent out within 28 days of entry, once the entry has been processed and checked.
  12. Online entries must be made via the Manchester Writing Competition website: www.manchesterwritingcompetition.co.uk. Online entrants will be required to pay online and will receive an automated email acknowledging receipt at the time of entry.
  13. All entries will be assigned an ID number and made anonymous upon receipt. Judges will not be privy to entrants' names during the reading and judging processes. Names will be reattributed to entries only after the short list and winners have been decided.
  14. Entries submitted for consideration may be withdrawn from the Competition by entrants by notification in writing (by post or email) to be received by the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met. Where work is withdrawn, entry fees will not be refunded.
  15. Amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted; poems cannot be amended, corrected or substituted. If entrants wish to correct errors in poems, they must withdraw their portfolio of poems from the Competition as above and enter again with payment of entry fee. No correspondence or discussion about amendments will be entered into.
  16. Entries will not be returned under any circumstances. Correspondence requesting returns will not receive a response.
  17. Manchester Met reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the entrant has breached any of these Rules, or made a false declaration on the entry form.
  18. Manchester Met cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the Competition.
  19. Manchester Met will act in accordance with current UK data protection legislation in relation to your personal data.
  20. The Competition and Rules will be governed by English Law and any dispute will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  21. Manchester Met reserves the right to amend these Rules where it is deemed necessary to do so or where circumstances are beyond MMU's control. Any changes to the Rules will be posted on the Manchester Writing Competition website.
  22. Submission of an entry will be deemed to imply unqualified acceptance of the Competition's Rules. In the event of any dispute regarding these Rules or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of Manchester Met shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.

Judging and selection

  1. A judging panel of practising writers will select a short-list of entrants and, from that list, select the winners. The judges' decisions are final, and no correspondence about their decisions will be entered into. Manchester Met reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice. The judges reserve the right not to award the prizes, or to reduce the prize money, if, in their opinion, such action is justified for any reason.
  2. Short-listed entrants will be invited to attend a prize-giving event in Manchester on 1st February 2019. The winners will be announced at this event. Short-listed entrants will be notified by telephone on or before the end of Friday 14th December 2018. In cases where short-listed entrants are unable to attend the event, they will be invited to send a representative (a friend or relative) on their behalf; if a representative is unable to attend, short-listed entrants will be asked to submit a short written statement to be read out at the ceremony should they win.


  1. The cost of entry is £17.50 (sterling) per portfolio of three to five poems.
  2. POSTAL ENTRANTS: Payment may be made by cheque or postal order only. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to "Manchester Metropolitan University". If a portfolio is received successfully but the cheque does not clear, the entrant will be contacted within 28 days of the deadline for entries and asked to attempt payment again, or to withdraw from the Competition.
  3. ONLINE ENTRANTS: Payment should be made by debit/credit card. We cannot accept payment via PayPal. If an online entrant successfully submits a portfolio but then fails to complete payment at the checkout, you will have until the deadline for entries to revisit the online shop and complete payment, or to withdraw from the Competition.
  4. In any cases where payments have not cleared by 30th November 2018, entrants will be automatically disqualified from the Competition.
  5. Where entrants are unable to complete payment via cheque or postal order, or via the online system, it may be possible for payment to be made over the telephone via debit/credit card or electronically via direct bank transfer. Please get in touch for further details.
  6. Payments from foreign bank accounts: please discuss with your bank whether any charges will be taken and add the value of the charge to your payment. We will not be able to accept payments from overseas accounts where charges will be taken and these are not added to your payment amount.
  7. Payment in any form other than cheque or postal order or debit/credit card is made at the entrant's own risk.


  1. Selected pieces may be printed in publications and journals hosted by Manchester Met and may appear in electronic format on the Manchester Met website, or in other electronic forms. Pieces may appear in abridged or edited form. The copyright in each poem submitted remains with the author. Entrants are deemed to grant to Manchester Met a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry submitted for the duration of the Competition (which is deemed to end on 28th February 2019), and for publicity purposes (including in print and electronic publications) thereafter. Entrants are free to submit poems entered into the Competition for consideration elsewhere (i.e. to other competitions or for publication) after 28th February 2019.


  1. "The Manchester Writing Competition: The Manchester Poetry Prize" will award one prize: a cash sum of £10,000.00 to the winner(s). The judges may decide to award The Manchester Poetry Prize jointly and divide the cash sum accordingly. The maximum number of winners will be two. The prize money is generated entirely through entry fees and may be reduced if an insufficient number of entries are received.


  1. Postal entries should be sent to: Manchester Poetry Prize, Finance Service Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University, Righton Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester, M15 6BG, United Kingdom.
  2. Queries should be sent to the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met: +44 (0) 161 247 1787 or writingschool@mmu.ac.uk.

Read the previous winning and short-listed entries:

    • Winners and Short-list

The Manchester Writing Competition is sponsored by Macdonald Hotels & Resorts presented in partnership with Manchester Literature Festival.‌


Manchester Poetry Prize