Guide to Poetry Pamphlet Competitions for Self-Publishing Poets

This is a guide to poetry pamphlet competitions for indie poets. Some allow entrants from international poets; others are limited by territory. Please check the rules of the individual competitions.


UK Unpublished Poetry Pamphlet Competitions: 


Mslexia magazine, in conjunction with PBS, runs an annual poetry pamphlet competition. The closing date for 2019 is 16 September. The judge is Amy Wack, of Seren books. Prize is £250.00 and pamphlet publication by Seren. The entry fee is £20.00 and the competition is only open to poets with no previous full collection published.

Munster Literature Centre

The Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition runs annually. First prize is €1000 and publication by Southword Editions. Second prize is €500 and publication.

One of the winners must have no history of previous pamphlet or book publication. There are also up to 25 publicly commended entries.

Winners also receive 25 free copies of the publication, and a reading at Cork Spring Poetry Festival. Check here for details.

The Poetry Business

The Poetry Business prize for the best pamphlet-length collections . Submit 20-24 pages of poetry, with the option for winners to submit a full book-collection manuscript. Entry is £28, £25 for The North subscribers, Friends of The Poetry Business and members of The Poetry Society.

The prize includes publication by Smith/Doorstop Books for four winners, and a share of £2,000.

Prole Pamphlet Competition

Up to 35 pages, entry £12.00. Prize £400.00, publication, and 25 complimentary copies. Closing date in 2019 is 31 August. Judge is Prole editor Brett Evans. Entries are judged anonymously

More details.

Rattle Chapbook Prize

The $25 entry fee is a one-year subscription to Rattle (or a one-year extension for subscribers). Three winners, judged by the editors of Rattle in an anonymous review, will receive $5,000 and 500 author copies of their chapbook, which will also be distributed to all of Rattle’s 7,000+ subscribers along with a future issue of the magazine. At least one of the winners will be a poet who has never published a full-length collection of poetry (48 pages or more).

UK: Published Poetry Pamphlet Competitions: 

Callum MacDonald Award

Awarded by the Scottish Poetry Library in conjunction with the Saltire Society, to a publisher of a pamphlet of no more than 38 pages, that has some association with Scotland or Scottish culture. Publisher received £500.00; the winning poet receives an Inspiring Scotland Bursary of £1,500. Publisher and poet may be the same person, which means this competition is open to self-published pamphlets. Entry is free. Four copies of each pamphlet must be supplied.

Michael Marks Award

The annual Michael Marks Award has four categories:

  • The Michael Marks Poetry Award
  • The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award
  • The Michael Marks Illustration Award
  • The Michael Marks Celtic Language Award

Poetry pamphlets must comprise no more than 36 pages, and self-published work is eligible. Five copies of each pamphlet must be supplied, but entry is free.

Publishers must additionally supply an entry form with statements about their programme, philosophy, aims, strategy, future plans, design and print criteria and sales/promotion strategy and activities.

Last year’s dates were for pamphlets published between 1st July 2015 and 30 June 2016, and the closing date was in August.

The prize is £5,000 for both the poetry and the publisher’s award, £1,000 for the illustration award and £2,000 for the Celtic Language Award. The poetry winners also have the opportunity to take up a residency at the Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. Check the Wordsworth Trust website for details usually released or around August.

 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize

Prize is for an outstanding debut poetry book collection by a poet, in the English language, valued at €10,000, adjudicated by a panel of judges nominated by the John Pollard Foundation, and the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. The 2020 prize will be awarded to a first book of poetry (48+ pages) published originally in the English language between October 1st 2018 and September 30th 2019. The winner must be available to accept the prize in person in Trinity College Dublin. Four copies of the book and a brief author biography (200 words maximum).

Further details here.  Contact:

Orna Ross


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