Women Poets’ Prize

The Women Poets’ Prize was launched in 2018, a year on from Rebecca’s passing. This unique award seeks to honour Rebecca’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women.

The Prize is awarded once every two years to three women poets. Each winner is carefully matched with a poetry mentor and offered pastoral coaching, facilitating a holistic body of support that nurtures craft and personal wellbeing in equal measure. The Prize also offers a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities with the Foundation’s partners: Faber and Faber, The Literary Consultancy, RADA, City Lit, Verve Festival, Bath Spa University, and The Poetry School. In addition to these opportunities which constitute the Women Poets’ Prize professional grant, each successful poet receives a cash bursary of £1,000. The Women Poets’ Prize is free to enter.

Women Poets’ Prize 2018 Winners

Claire Collison
Nina Mingya Powles
Anita Pati

You can read about our inaugural winners in the Guardian here

To read about the progress of our winners one year on from their win, click here

The Women Poets’ Prize 2020 is now open for submissions

Deadline 11pm (BST) August 14th



Women Poets’ Prize 2020 Judges

This year’s judging panel are Liz Berry, Malika Booker and Pascale Petit

Women Poets’ Prize 2020 Mentors

This year’s poetry mentors are Mona Arshi, Isobel Dixon and Martha Sprackland


Our 2018 Judges were Moniza Alvi, Fiona Sampson, and Sarah Howe.

Our 2018 pastoral coaches were Rachel Long, Dzifa Benson, and Deborah Alma.

Our 2018 editorial mentors were Isobel Dixon, Mona Arshi, and Martha Sprackland.


Selection Criteria

The Women Poets’ Prize supports creatively ambitious practitioners – poets who are making or are capable of making a significant contribution to the UK poetry landscape. It gifts freedom and inspires potential, embracing excellence in poetic practice. Applications are open to women poets of all ages, at any stage in their development; emerging or more established, who are resident in the UK/Northern Ireland. The Rebecca Swift Foundation is invested in ensuring a culturally and creatively diverse shortlist and warmly encourages applications from individuals who may not normally consider applying for prizes, awards, or development opportunities. Following the initial application stage, a reading panel will select a longlist of 30 applicants whose work will then be read by a panel of industry judges. A resulting shortlist of nine poets will be revealed, before the final selection of three awardees is made by the mentors who will work with the winning poets.

Deadline

The Women Poets’ Prize 2020 submissions window closes on Friday 14th August, 11pm.

How to Enter

The Women Poets’ Prize aims to be accessible to as many women poets as possible. Our definition of poetry is, therefore, broad and dynamic: we are as interested in the ideas running through your work as we are in the way that your work appears visually on the page. As such, applicants are asked to send the following:

  • Three poems, across no longer than four pages of text. Example: this may look like three poems, each on its own page, or two short poems followed by a longer poem running across two pages. Every poem must have a title, and we encourage you to submit what you feel is your best work.
  • A statement detailing why you write poetry. What do you aim for your poems to achieve? What influences and inspires your work? Please include a very brief overview of where you are in your writing career currently. (300 words max)
  • A statement explaining what you feel you have to gain from the Women Poets’ Prize. What would you like to develop, and why? (300 words max)
  • An equal opportunities monitoring form. This is optional and anonymous, but will help us analyse the demographics of women poets applying for the Prize more accurately.

Save your application document, including your 3 poems and 2 short statements, as a single PDF, Word or Docx file titled ‘Surname, First Name – WPP20’. Download and complete the (optional) Equal Opportunities form. Submit your documents separately using the forms below, by the deadline.

Before entering, please ensure you have read the Women Poets’ Prize terms and conditions.

Prize T&Cs – PDF
Prize T&Cs – Word doc
Women Poets' Prize Entry Form

Women Poets' Prize Entry Form

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