And the winner is …

Everyone. I’m going to cover festivals and competitions this time. A competition is an opportunity to have your newly written work measured against others. Apart from the kudos you might gain, who else is going to benefit from a competition? Often these are part of the essential fundraising for a literary or arts festival. All who contribute to such events get something from it.

  • Organisers: often a small core of motivated persons who initiate and drive the festival and the competition;
  • Sponsors: gain brand value by association in return for their sponsorship pledges;
  • Adjudicators: put in an enormous amount of their time sifting through the entries, and sometimes negotiating with other judges, to arrive at a shortlist.
  • Audiences: gain the enjoyment of listening to the shortlisted and winning entries;
  • Supporting businesses: competitions and festivals support local businesses, such as catering firms, printers, restaurants and providers of lodgings;
  • Editors: If you are lucky or skilled enough to place in a competition your entry may end up in an anthology. Someone must do all the hard work of editing and production. This may be a voluntary role. These and other volunteers all have their own good reasons for contributing;
  • Entrants: a chance at being placed in a recognised competition and perhaps appearing in the anthology.

Everyone gets the feeling of being part of a shared cultural endeavour. So aim to submit your next poem in a competition.

If you are successful, you’ll be asked to read out your work at an awards ceremony. This can be daunting for some. I recommend reading through the poem to yourself and your support network several times before. Ensure you can project to a large audience, possibly using a microphone, possibly under dazzling stage lights, possibly with a child crying in the audience.

And the winner is? Well, I recently won the Local Poet 2019 competition at the Sandwich Arts Week with my sestina: The Incomplete Works of the Last King of Bavaria.

So I’ve had all of this, in church acoustics, reading this poem to over fifty members of the public in St. Peter’s as part of the launch of Sandwich Arts Week (

There are many other festivals with competitions in the UK, such as London, Bridport, Ledbury, Stroud, Winchester and Canterbury. For your research, here is a good compilation of links: .



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