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 (going in-house to learn about the history of poetry publication in the UK), The Literary Consultancy (professional editorial mentoring), Birmingham Royal Conservatoire (voice coaching), City Lit (bookbinding courses), Verve Festival (access to the festival, both events and backstage), Bath Spa University (digital skills training), and The Poetry School (studio or digital workshops on craft). In addition to these opportunities which constitute the Women Poets’ Prize professional grant, each successful poet receives a cash bursary of £1,000 and sessions with a professional resilience coach. The Women Poets’ Prize is free to enter.
Women Poets’ Prize 2020 Winners
Natalie Linh Bolderston
Women Poets’ Prize 2018 Winners
Nina Mingya Powles
You can read about our inaugural winners in the Guardian here
For News about the Prize click here
The Women Poets’ Prize re-opens in 2022
All long listed poets also receive one year’s free access to the Being A Writer platform which focuses on cultivating creativity and building resilience.
The Women Poets' Prize is closed
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.
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.
The Women Poets’ Prize 2020 submissions window is now closed.
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 poem that heavily uses blank lines (blank lines are not included in the 40 line poem limit) and stretches 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.