Sussex entries sought for international poetry competition

The deadline for the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society's annual open competition is fast approaching.

Rishi Dastidar
Rishi Dastidar

The international contest is being judged this year by Rishi Dastidar, poet and editor whose most recent collection Saffron Jack is published by Nine Arches Press.

The competition is open to anyone aged 16 and over and the deadline for entries is January 31. There are seven prizes up for grabs: first prize: £1000, second prize: £300, third prize: £100 and fourth prize: four x £50.

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The entry fee is £5 per poem but for three or more poems the fee reduces to £4 each. Poems must be in English, unpublished, 40 lines or fewer, not accepted for publication and must be your own original work.

Open competition organiser Phil Vernon said: "We receive entries from all over the world. Last year's winner was from Brisbane, Australia. It's fantastic to read all the great poems from a huge variety of poets. In these turbulent times reading and writing poetry is a great source of pleasure, solace and entertainment."

For full rules and regulations, and details of how to enter poems by email or post, visit

“The Kent & Sussex Poetry Society is a lively local group with an international reach and reputation. Many of its members are published poets, with collections to their names. The group been going for over 70 years in based in Tunbridge Wells on the Kent and Sussex border, but remain as friendly and supportive and open to newcomers as ever.

“The Society was founded by Vita Sackville-West who created the famous gardens at nearby Sissinghurst Castle. Vita was herself a literary prize winner, gaining the prestigious Hawthornden Prize in 1927, and again in 1933.

“Group activities include monthly open poetry readings from a wide range of contemporary poets. These evenings also include a short open mic slot for readings from the floor. The Society runs monthly poetry workshops for writers looking for feedback on their poems and an annual, members only, Folio competition.

“Any surplus accrued from running the open competition helps fund these activities. In 2020, the society had planned to organise a Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival, intended to be an annual event. However, this was put on hold due to Covid-19. Nevertheless, monthly poetry events continue to be held online, and we hope to put on the festival in 2021.”