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Competition season! Be afraid. Plus the odd launch

Those Darn Comps

Love ’em or loath ’em, but some of us just can’t stop ourselves entering. “Is there a competition season?” someone once asked me and I feel as if there is, and it’s now – not sure why except that the National always closes on October 31st, this year a particularly loaded date, sadly. Plus the results of the Bridport out soon.

If you keep up with Angela T Carr’s comps and submissions blog posts then you’ll already know this, but just a reminder:

National Poetry Competition (a misnomer actually – it’s International, as the list of prize winners generally confirms) – closing date 31st October, judges Mona Arshi, Helen Mort and Maurice Riordan. First prize £5,000 but tons of kudos and visibility to anyone making the ‘commendeds’. Even reaching the ‘long list’ is pretty good. First entry £7, Poetry Society members get a FREE second poem. Enter here and lashings of good luck to you.

Also don’t forget the Troubadour Poetry Prize, closing on 21st October. £5 to enter and £2000 first prize, with the very interesting combo of Kathryn Maris and Pat Boran judging this year. I predict there’ll be one grandaddy of a pile of paper in the Maris-Riordan household come November.

Launches, readings

This evening it’s the Needlewriters in Lewes with readings by poets Clare Best, Robert Hamberger and Anna Reckin, alongside prose writer Martin Nathan. I’ll be the host, which is always fun. Do come if you’re able.

This Sunday I’m off up to Greenwich, my old manor, for the Live Canon readings & competition results (for which we’re all being kept cruelly on tenterhooks, having made the ‘long list’ – I’m assuming I haven’t won since I haven’t had the call to say ‘you are coming, aren’t you…?’ But it will be a fun-filled afternoon I’m certain, and every one’s a winner baby (NOT! – whoever thought up that stupid phrase!) Anyway, I’m looking forward to hearing the Live Canon ensemble perform the winning poems, it’s an amazing experience.

November is shaping up well – my new pamphlet launch is scheduled for 25th and (same week) I’m reading for Rogue Strands in London on 28th – more to come on both. I’m also hoping to get to Lynne Hjelmgaard’s launch of A Second Whisper (Seren) on Monday 11th.

Meanwhile I’m getting close to the end of Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary – I’ve been slowing down as we approach the second World War, I almost can’t bear to read her thoughts on it all – and am also in the ‘Rotten Pockets’ of Hell c/o Signor Dante Alighieri. No wonder I’ve been having such weird dreams lately.


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  1. Heather Walker Heather Walker

    Good luck on Sunday with Live Canon. I’m doing one of their courses – writing climate crises poetry – and loving it.

  2. Gráinne Tobin Gráinne Tobin

    I met Lynn Hjelmgaard, and heard some poems from the Annaliese book, at a week’s writing break in Normandy a few years ago. She is a memorably lovely person – her presence was so tender and gently accepting. And good poems too.

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Robin Houghton 2021