Poetry Prize: £10,000*
Entry fee: £17.50 (reduced price entry available**)
Deadline for Entries: 20th September 2019, 5pm (UK time)
Chair of Poetry Judges: Malika Booker
£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). Please see below for full terms and conditions of entry and, for further information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.
*Terms and conditions apply.
**A limited number of reduced price entries are available to writers who might not otherwise be able to take part in the competition. If you would like to apply for one of these, please contact email@example.com to register your interest and for further details. The deadline for expressions of interest in reduced price entry is 30th June 2019.
The 2019 Manchester Writing Competition is now closed to entries. See below for details of this year’s short-listed finalists. The winners will be announced on 7th February. Book your free tickets to the gala ceremony here.
Malika Booker is an award-winning poet, theatre-maker and multi-disciplinary artists, and an experienced writing competition judge. She is the founder of the Malika's Poetry Kitchen writers’ community initiative. In 2019 she was commissioned to write and perform a poem about Mars for a BBC Science series about the solar system and was awarded a prestigious Society of Authors Cholmondley Award for her contribution to poetry. She joined Manchester Metropolitan University as Lecturer in Creative Writing in January 2019.
W. N. Herbert
W.N. Herbert is mostly published by Bloodaxe Books, and his poetry has received numerous accolades, including a Cholmondeley award, and being shortlisted (twice!) for the TS Eliot Prize. He lives in Newcastle, where he is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University. He was born in Dundee, and in 2013 was appointed the city’s first Makar or laureate. He is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society.
Karen McCarthy Woolf
Born in London to English and Jamaican parents Karen McCarthy Woolf’s An Aviary of Small Birds is described as an ‘extraordinarily moving and technically flawless’ (The Poetry Review) ‘pitch perfect’ début (Guardian). As poet-in-residence at the National Maritime Museum, she wrote her second collection, Seasonal Disturbances, exploring nature, migration, the city and the sacred. A Complete Works Fellow, Karen is an editor, critic and radio dramatist. Her work is translated into Turkish, Spanish, Swedish and Italian. This year sees her co-curating Radio 4’s Poetry Please, lecturing in China and joining UCLA as a Fulbright All Disciplines post-doctoral Scholar as Writer in Residence at the Promise Institute for Human Rights Law.
Born in Cumbria, Katie is the author of a novel, My Name is Monster (Canongate, 2019), and two poetry pamphlets: Breaking the Surface (Flipped Eye, 2017) and Assembly Instructions (Southword Editions, 2019), which won the Munster Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. In 2019, she was awarded a MacDowell Fellowship, and was Poet in Residence at the Wordsworth Trust and at Passa Porta in Brussels. Her poetry has been published in Poetry Review, The North and Magma, among others. She regularly runs writing workshops in schools, and is currently working on a full-length poetry collection, exploring her family’s female heritage.
Momtaza Mehri is a poet, essayist and meme archivist. She is the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and the 2017 Outspoken Page Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in Granta, Artforum, Poetry International, BBC Radio 4, Vogue and Real Life Mag. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London and a columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Open Space. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least, was published by Goldsmiths Press in November 2019.
Lauren runs the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing with an emphasis on semiotics and the anorexic aesthetic in the early poetry of Medbh McGuckian and Louise Glück. Her poetry has appeared in various journals and online publications including Gutter, Magma, The North and The Rialto. She was one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2017. Her poetry pamphlet, Announce This, was published by Templar Poetry, and shortlisted for the 2018 Callum Macdonald Memorial Awards.
Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, Karisma Price holds a BA in creative writing from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from New York University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Four Way Review, Wildness, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and New York University and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry at Tulane University in New Orleans.
David Allen Sullivan
David Allen Sullivan’s books include: Strong-Armed Angels, Every Seed of the Pomegranate, a book of co-translation with Abbas Kadhim from the Arabic of Iraqi Adnan Al-Sayegh, published in England as Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet, and Black Ice. He won the Mary Ballard Chapbook poetry prize for Take Wing, and his book of poems about the year he spent as a Fulbright lecturer in China, Seed Shell Ash, is forthcoming from Salmon Press, Ireland. He teaches at Cabrillo College, where he edits the Porter Gulch Review with his students, and lives in Santa Cruz with his family. He is searching for a publisher for an anthology of poetry about the paintings of Bosch and Bruegel he edited with his art historian mother who died recently.
Marvin Thompson was born in London to Jamaican parents and now lives in mountainous south Wales. His debut collection, Road Trip (Peepal Tree Press, March 2020), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
In 2019, he was one of only eight writers to be awarded a grant by Literature Wales as part of the Platforming Under-represented Writers Funding Scheme. His war poem, ‘The Many Reincarnations of Gerald, Oswald Archibald Thompson’ was submitted by Long Poem Magazine for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Poem. As well as having an MA in creative writing, Thompson was selected by Nine Arches Press for the Primers 2 mentoring scheme. Reviewers of the anthology described his work as ‘exciting,’ ‘dramatic’ and ‘a virtuoso performance.’
Read the 2019 short-listed poems:
Read the previous winning and short-listed entries:
Since its launch in 2008, the Manchester Writing Competition has attracted more than 20,000 submissions from over 50 counties and awarded £175,000 to its winners. These are the UK’s biggest prizes for unpublished writing. The Competition encourages new work and seeks out the best creative writing from across the world, with Manchester as the focal point for a major international literary award. The winners of this year’s £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prizes will be revealed at a gala ceremony on Friday 7th February in the atmospheric Baronial Hall at Chetham’s Library in the heart of the city. The event will feature readings from each of this year’s finalists before the announcement of the winners.
This year’s Poetry Prize was judged by Malika Booker, W. N. Herbert and Karen McCarthy Woolf. The Fiction Prize was judges by Nicholas Royle, Jonathan Gibbs, Sakinah Hofler and Lara Williams.
The Manchester Writing Competition was devised by Carol Ann Duffy (UK Poet Laureate 2009-2019) and is run the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University: www.mmu.ac.uk/writingschool.
The copyright in each piece of writing submitted remains with its author.
If you have any queries, or would like any further information, about the Manchester Writing Competition, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 (0) 161 247 1787.
Press enquiries: Dominic Smith: email@example.com; +44 (0) 161 247 5277. The judges and finalists are all available for interview.
Tickets for the Gala Prize-giving are available here: www.manchesterwritingschool.co.uk/events
The 2020 Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes will open to entries in April 2020: www.manchesterwritingcompetition.co.uk. We are looking to build relationships and explore opportunities with commercial and cultural sponsors and partners, so please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 (0) 161 247 1787.