Poetry Centre

Frequently asked questions

  • Eligibility

    Do I have to be a UK resident to enter the competition?
    No. The competition is open to anyone from around the world who is aged 18 or over at the time of entering (unless excluded under the Terms and Conditions).

    Do I have to be a published poet to enter?
    No. We welcome poems from unpublished writers as well.

    Who’s excluded from entering?
    Current OBU employees, staff (who may also be students) and contractors, their spouses/partners and current or former Competition judges.


    Do line spaces between stanzas in my poem count as part of the 50-line limit? What about titles, epigraphs and dedications?
    Only lines of text are counted, not the lines between stanzas. Titles, epigraphs and dedications are not counted as lines.

    What if I enter a poem with more than 50 lines?
    Your entry will be disqualified. Please ensure you keep within the line limit.

    I left my name or contact details on my entry, will it be disqualified?
    Yes it will. Entries need to be anonymous.

    How will you know which entries are mine if I don’t write my name on them?
    All entries are logged and numbered by Poetry Centre staff so that they can be judged anonymously and matched back to your entry once the judge has made their decision. 

    Can I make alterations to my entries after they have been submitted?
    No, alterations cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted (see our Terms and Conditions). If you want to submit a more recent version of your entry you will need to withdraw your original entry and make a fresh submission.

    Are simultaneous submissions to other publishers or competitions allowed?

    Can I enter more than one poem?
    Yes. Entrants may enter a maximum of ten poems.

    Can I use a pen name?
    We do allow pseudonyms although we ask that entries are made using your real name. Please let us know your pseudonym when you e-mail us your poem(s).

    Must entries be unpublished?

    Yes. Entries that have already been published are not eligible.

    Does having a poem on my own blog count as previous publication?

    Yes. It would not be eligible.

    I’ve workshopped my poem in a closed group online and/or face-to-face, does this count as being published?

    No. If you’ve shown your work to a closed group of other poets or writers as part of the drafting process, this does not count as being made public or published. Your poem is eligible.

    Do you accept translations?

    Yes. As long as it is a poem you have translated into English from your own original, unpublished work.

    Do you accept poems in languages other than English?

    No. Poems must be written primarily in English, though a few words or phrases in another language or languages can be included.

    Can I send the same poem that I entered and was unplaced in last year’s competition?


    What are the categories and prizes?
    There are two categories - Open and English as an Additional Language (EAL). Each has two cash prizes: £1,000 for the winner and £200 for the runner up, plus a non-cash Special Commendation in each category.

    How will the cash prizes be paid?

    Prize winners will be paid directly into the same bank account from which the fee for the entry was originally paid.

    Entering online

    How do I enter?
    Entry is a two stage process:

    1. Register and pay for your entries via the online shop.
    2. Mark your entries either EAL or OPEN in the top right-hand corner of each entry and e-mail them, one poem per file, as Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or PDF (.pdf) files to poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk You may attach several poems to your e-mail, but please ensure that they are in separate files.

    I’m a poet whose first language isn’t English (EAL). How do I enter?
    Poems by EAL poets can be entered for consideration either in the EAL or the Open category. All entrants need to include either EAL or OPEN in the top right hand corner of each entry.

    How can I check that you received my entries?

    You will receive two automatic messages: one from the online shop when you pay for your entry, and one from the competition e-mail confirming your submission when you e-mail us your poem/s.

    Will you return my entries after judging?

    No, entries are not returned. Make sure you keep a copy.


    How much does it cost to enter?
    The first three poems submitted cost £5 per poem. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £4 per poem up to a maximum of ten poems.

    How many poems can I enter?

    You may enter a maximum of ten poems.

    I am entering from overseas.  How can I pay the entry fee?
    Payments must be made using the Oxford Brookes Online Shop using Visa/Mastercard Credit/Debit cards only. Confirmation of payment will be by automatic email reply.

    Can I pay with cash or PayPal?

    No. Entry is by card payment through our online shop only.


    When will the competition winners be announced?
    Prize-winners and shortlistees will be notified by late October 2021 and invited to an award ceremony at a date TBC in Oxford. If current C-19 restrictions make such a social gathering impossible, the Poetry Centre will host an online version of the awards event. Check the website in late October for the list of winners. We will e-mail all entrants when the results are announced.

    Will the judge comment on my work?
    No, the judge is unable to comment on individual entries, other than a short report on the winning poems.


    Do you pass on my personal details to anyone else?
    In accordance with the 2018 GDPR regulations, your details will be held on a secure database and will not be released to any third party without your explicit and written consent.

    If you have agreed to let us do so through the questionnaire we provide when you enter the competition, we may contact you by e-mail once or twice a year with details of the next year’s competition and any other relevant information that may be of interest to you.



    Does copyright remain with me?
    The copyright in each poem submitted remains with the author but prize-winning and shortlisted entrants grant OBU a non-exclusive, worldwide licence for the duration of the Competition (which is deemed to end on 1 June 2022), and for ongoing publicity purposes.


    Who can I contact for further help?
    For all queries, please email the Competition’s e-mail account: poetrycomp@brookes.ac.uk