Contest entries

TPCL logo with powerThe contest is for a piece of prose or poetry of a maximum of 600 words that can be read in four minutes in the event on 21 April 2018.

Entry is in two stages. For your initial entry, please submit the title and author of the poem which in some way changed your life, plus a 50-word description of the impact it made on you. Closing date for initial entries is 28 February 2018. 

Long list. As entries are received they will considered for the long list, which will be published in full by March 16. As entrants are selected for the long list, they will be asked to submit a full 600-word (MAXIMUM) script of their presentation with any quoted content of the poem clearly indicated in comparison with the entrant’s own text. These entries may be submitted either as a Word or PDF file, or an audio file. Typewritten (not handwritten) final entries may be posted by prior arrangement. The closing date for long-list entries is 6 April 2018. 

Long-listed entrants will also be asked if they are able to attend the event, and/or whether they wish to read their work, or have it read by someone else. If the latter option is selected, a suitable regular reader at the festival will be asked to read the piece.

Judging. All long-listed entries will be judged by Anna Saunders, Celtenham Poetry Festival’s executive director, and by the event coordinator, Howard Timms.

Short-listed entrants will be notified by March 30, and asked to confirm their willingness to enter the final event, whether or not they are able to attend, and whether or not they wish to read their work themselves. All short-listed entrants who confirm their entries may be read will compete in the event on April 21.

Copyright issues. If a short-listed entry quotes substantial sections of the featured poem are essential to the presentation, the festival will attempt to gain copyright permission. But if permission is legally required, but not available, then the entry will have to be withdrawn or rewritten to avoid quoting substantial sections.

Prizes. Successful entrants will be given free admission to the event.  The top three entries by audience acclaim will also be given two free tickets to another 2018 festival event of their choice (subject to availability.)


  1. Initial entries must be no more than 50 words of summary of your poem’s impact. The summary must be entirely your own original work, plus the poem’s title and author, entrant’s name, and contact details.
  2. Long-listed entrants must submit no more than 600 words which are entirely the entrant’s own original work, the word count to INCLUDE the quotations from the poem featured in the entry.
  3. The text of an entry which meets this competition’s requirements and rules, and is the entrant’s copyright, may have already been published in print or digital media. Such previous publication of the entry contents is acceptable in this contest.
  4. The entry’s content may not have been performed in whole or part within 50 miles of Cheltenham in the three months before the festival, nor three months afterwards
  5. Any quotations from the featured poem must be clearly and visually distinguished from the entrant’s own text.
  6. The entrant’s own original poem may be the featured poem, provided the writing or publication of that particular poem caused an identifiable dramatic impact on the poet’s life.
  7. Any entry not submitted by midnight on the appropriate deadline will be automatically disqualified.

Entry is free. by the form below, or by email to