Closing date: 31 October 2020
Judge: John McCullough
First prize: £100 and a signed copy of John McCullough’s poetry collection Reckless Paper Birds.
Runner up: £50 and a signed copy of John McCullough’s poetry collection Reckless Paper Birds.
Entry Fee: £6 for one poem, £10 for two (see below).
The competition is open-themed, maximum 40 lines.
Click here for full rules and how to enter.
John McCullough lives in Hove. His first collection of poems, The Frost Fairs (Salt), won the Polari First Book Prize in 2012 and was a Book of the Year for The Independent. This was followed by Spacecraft (Penned in the Margins, 2016) which was a summer read in The Guardian and shortlisted for the Ledbury-Forte prize. His latest book of poems, Reckless Paper Birds (Penned in the Margins, 2019) was recently shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. The judges said “This collection – hilarious, harrowing and hyper-modern – offers a startlingly fresh insight into vulnerability and suffering.”
Reckless Paper Birds has also won the 2020 Hawthornden prize for literature, awarded for overall best UK book of the year, against strong competition from many excellent novels, biographies and other poetry collections. Previous winners of the Hawthornden Prize include Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Geoffrey Hill, Ali Smith and Alice Oswald. The prize of £15,000 was awarded by unanimous decision between the five judges, who praised the collection’s “originality and boldness”.