National Poetry Competition

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The National Poetry Competition is an annual poetry prize established in 1978.[1] It is run by the UK-based Poetry Society and accepts entries from all over the world, with over 10,000 poems being submitted to the competition each year. Winning has been an important milestone in the careers of many well-known poets.

Carol Ann Duffy, the current UK Poet Laureate, won in 1983 with 'Whoever She Was'. Looking back in 2007 she commented: "in those days, one was still called a 'poetess'- so it meant a lot, as a young woman poet, to begin to try to change that".[2] Christopher James, the 2008 winner, commented "if there is an unspoken Grand Slam circuit for poetry prizes, then the National Poetry Competition is definitely Wimbledon – it's the one everyone dreams of winning".[3] Other prestigious names to have won the competition include Ruth Padel, Jo Shapcott, Sinéad Morrissey, Ian Duhig, Colette Bryce and the poet and novelist Helen Dunmore.[4]

The competition runs annually, opening in the spring and closing in the autumn. A new team of judges (made up of three respected poets) is announced each year. The first prize is £5,000 and the top three winners are published in Britain's leading poetry magazine, Poetry Review.

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