Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

When it comes to pamphlet comps, what’s the choice?

A good number of competitions are currently running in the UK. The Poetry Business International Book & Pamphlet Competition is perhaps the best known – and most coveted – but new ones spring up (and down) all the time. Here’s a list to get you started. (Please nudge us, if you know of any we’ve missed.)

A good number of competitions are currently running in the UK. The Poetry Business International Book & Pamphlet Competition is perhaps the best known – and most coveted – but new ones spring up (and down) all the time. Here’s a list to get you started. (Please nudge us if you know of any we’ve missed.)

Cinnamon Press

Cinnamon’s annual Poetry Pamphlet Prize invites collections of 15-25 poems, and entry is £10. This year’s closing date is 31st March 2018, and its judge Ian Gregson. The prize is publication by Cinnamon for three winners – see Competition Guidelines.

Eyewear Publishing

Not exactly a competition, but there’s a reading fee of £20 and prizes of publication for ‘up to 30 pamphlets’ in The Lorgnette Pamphlet series. No details of other entitlements (eg free author copies).

Fair Acre Press

Fair Acre Press ran its first pamphlet competition in 2015/16 (for up to 30 pages of poetry, maximum 30 lines per page; entry fee £12).  Watch this space for a follow-up…

Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd

Indigo Dreams offers pamphlet publication to two winning entrants. You can check out details of the 2017 competition on the website. Nothing about next year's competition yet.

Ink, Sweat & Tears

The webzine, Ink, Sweat & Tears, in partnership with The Café Writers Commission, ran a pamphlet competition in 2017. Keep an eye out for future opportunities on the Café Writers Commission page.

Mother’s Milk Books

Mother’s Milk ran their first Pamphlet Prize in 2016 (for collections of 20-30 poems; entry fee £8 spent on poetry from the press). That year’s closing date was in July. Check out the website for news of anything else in the pamphlet pipeline.


Mslexia magazine has traditionally run an annual poetry pamphlet competition, judged by Seren poetry publisher Amy Wack and with publication by Seren as a prize. It currently says ‘In 2018 we will be rethinking and rebranding our competitions’, and ‘We’ll be announcing the full set of competitions early next year, so keep an eye on this page – or sign up for updates so that we can keep you informed.’ See here.

Munster Literature Centre

The Fool for Poetry international Chapbook Competition ran last year. Details were: there was a first prize, a second and up to 25 publicly commended entries. One of the two prizes was awarded to a debut poet. Prizes include cash, publication, 50 free

copies of the publication, and a reading at Cork Spring Poetry Festival plus three

days accommodation. Entry fee €25/£25. Check here for details of the next one.

The Poetry Business

The big one: annual competition for pamphlet-length collections – 20-24 pages of poetry – with the option for winners of submitting a full book-collection manuscript. This year’s competition closes on 1st March 2018 and is judged by Liz Berry and David Constantine. 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.

The Poetry Business New Poets Prize is also run by The Poetry Business. This is a pamphlet competition for poets aged 17-24. Entries invited of 12 pages of poems, closing date 1st March 2018, judged by Kayo Chingonyi. Prize includes mentorship, and publication by Smith/Doorstop Books for four winning entries.

The Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize

This is a competition for individual poems but the first prize has been pamphlet publication. Watch this space for details of the 2018 prize.

The Rialto

The Rialto ran its first open pamphlet competition in 2016 – for collections of 18-24 poems; entry fee £22, £16 for The Rialto subscribers. Last year’s closing date was in November. Again, watch this space for details of a follow-up.

Templar Poetry

Templar runs short-collection competitions on a rolling basis. IOTA shots – for 12-16 pages of poems, entry £15.50 – is currently open with a closing date of 29 January 2018, and the next quarterly Portfolio competition – entry £12, for groups of 10-12 poems – is open until 11 December 2017. All are judged by Templar Managing Editor Alex McMillen. The prize is publication by Templar.

Competitive awards for published pamphlet collections:

Callum Macdonald Award

The annual Callum Macdonald Award, supported by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, is awarded to the publisher of a pamphlet (of no more than 38 pages). The publisher or the pamphlet must have some association with Scotland or Scottish culture. The first prize is £1,500, and a residency for the author of the pamphlet at the Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece; there is also a second prize of £600, and other shortlisted publishers receive £100.

Michael Marks Award

The annual Michael Marks Award has three categories:

  • The Michael Marks Poetry Award
  • The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award
  • The Michael Marks Illustration 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, and £1,000 for the illustration award. The poetry winner also has the opportunity to take up a residency at the Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. Check the Wordsworth Trust website for details for 2018, usually released June/July.