Women Poets’ Prize

Launching a year on from Rebecca’s passing, 2018 marks the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize – a biennial award seeking to honour Rebecca’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women.

The Women Poets’ Prize is a biennial prize and is currently CLOSED. The next submissions period will be in 2020.

The Prize is free to enter and relies entirely on donations to run. If you would like to make a donation, please go to the Donations Page. We are extremely grateful for all our donors’ support, without which this Prize would not be possible.

The Prize will be awarded to three female-identifying poets. Each winner will be carefully matched with a poetry mentor in addition to a pastoral coach, facilitating a holistic body of support that nurtures craft and personal wellbeing in equal measure. The Prize will also offer 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 will each receive a cash bursary of £1,000.

The Women Poets’ Prize is free to enter.

The Women Poets’ Prize 2018 is now closed for entries.

We are delighted to announce a launch event at the Second Home Festival on June 9th, 12-1.30pm (Second Home, Holland Park). The launch will feature readings and a panel discussion with acclaimed poets Mona Arshi, Rachel Long, and Martha Sprackland, and a special guest reading including original poems by Rebecca Swift, by Moniza Alvi.

Poetry Mentors

Isobel Dixon
Mona Arshi
Martha Sprackland

Pastoral Coaches

Rachel Long
Dzifa Benson
Deborah Alma

2018 Judges

Moniza Alvi
Fiona Sampson
Sarah Howe

Selection Criteria

The Prize will support creatively ambitious practitioners – poets who are making or are capable of making a significant contribution to the UK poetry landscape. It will gift freedom and inspire potential, embracing excellence in poetic practice. Applications are open to female-identifying poets of all ages, at any stage in their development; emerging or 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 40-60 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 inaugural Prize closed for submissions at 11pm BST, Monday 23rd July 2018. The prize is biennial and will re-open for submissions in 2020.

Application Process

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 (up to four A4 pages). Example: Two short poems (each poem on its own page), followed by a longer poem across two pages. Alternatively, three poems, each on its own page. Please ensure that every poem has a title. We encourage you to submit what you see as your best work – regardless of what you think others might prefer.
  • A statement detailing why you write poetry. What do you aim for your poems to achieve? What influences and inspires your work? (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? (500 words max)
  • A single-page CV of writing experience. Use this to provide details any readings, performances, participation in workshops (academic or otherwise), publications or features in literary journals or magazines. Don’t worry if you are an early-career poet; simply write any relevant experience, for instance how long you have been writing, here.

To submit:

Before entering, please read the Women Poet’s Prize terms and conditions:

Prize T&Cs – PDF Prize T&Cs – Word doc

Please ensure you have not entered your name or contact details anywhere in the body of your submission. All applications should be saved as a single PDF, Word or Docx document saved as ‘Last name, First Name – WPP 18’ and sent as an email attachment to info@rebeccaswiftfoundation.org by the deadline.