Poetry Competition

1st prize £300, 2nd Prize £150 and
3rd prize worth £50 with several runner up prizes

The Contest

South Bank Poetry’s contest is for London poems. Each year the competition opens on January 1st and closes midnight on the 21st June. (Postal entries postmarked that day from the UK or abroad will be accepted)


The Judge

Mimi Khalvati was born in Tehran, Iran. She grew up on the Isle of Wight, where she attended boarding school from the age of six, and has lived most of her life in England. She trained at Drama Centre London and has worked as an actor and director in the UK and Iran.

She has published eight collections of poetry with Carcanet Press, including The Weather Wheel, The Meanest Flower, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, a Financial Times Book of the Year, and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and, most recently, Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.

Her work has been translated into nine languages and she received a Cholmondeley Award in 2006. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Mimi is the founder of The Poetry School and was the Coordinator from 1997–2004. She is a core tutor for the School and has co-edited its three anthologies of new writing published by Enitharmon Press.

She is also a freelance poetry tutor and has worked with arts organisations such as the Arvon Foundation and the South Bank Centre and has taught at universities in the UK, Europe and America.

Mimi will read all the entries and choose 5 winning poems and 5 commended poems.

how to enter

Entry Fee

The entry fees are £4 for the first poem, £3 for the second and £2 for the third and each subsequent poem. South Bank Poetry subscribers benefit from reduced fees: £3 for the first poem, £2 for the second, and £1.50 for the third and each subsequent poem. You can subscribe to SBP when entering the competition in order to take advantage of the reduced rates by adding the relevant fee to the overall total paid.

Online Entries

A quick and easy way to enter is online. You’ll be able to upload your poem entries from 1st January 2016 to 21st June 2016, and pay the appropriate entry fee securely by PayPal. Enter the poetry competition via the tab called Enter Poetry Competition online.

When uploading please upload 2 files containing all your poems 1- with all your contact details on and 1- anonymous one.

You will be charged a very small admin and paypal fee when entering online. Please double check that your poems have been uploaded fully to the system before signing out. If you experience any issues please email

Postal Entries

Another quick and easy way to enter is by post. Sending 2 copies of each poem entered. One copy with all your contact details on it and another copy that is anonymous, along with payment in the form of a cheque or postal order. Cheques should be made out to SOUTH BANK POETRY.


The Rules of the Competition

  • Poems must be no more than 55 lines long excluding title, and be typed on A4 paper.
  • If submitting by post please send 2 copies of each poem- one with your details clearly shown and the other with no details on.
  • Poems should have a London focus or context. Any explicit London connection, past, present or future, is acceptable.
  • Poems must be in English and your own original work.
  • The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
  • Poems must be typed, in English, unpublished, (They must not have been published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online, broadcast, or have won or been placed in another competition at any time) have a title, and be your original work. No translations.
  • Please ensure you attach the correct postage. If we have to pay the post office for any shortfall, we reserve the right to reduce the number of poems you have entered, to cover our loss.
  • No entry form required, send two copies of each poem, one anonymous, the other with name and contact details. An e-mail address is essential for contact with regard to publication in Issue 25, if your poem is long-listed.
  • If on two pages they should be stapled in the top left hand corner.
  • All poems will be read and judged anonymously by Mimi, cannot be returned, and may not be altered after submission. The judge’s decisions are final.
  • No person may win more than one prize.
  • The copyright of each poem remains with the author, although the organizers have the right to publish winning and commended poems once, in a future issue of South Bank as well as online and on social media.
  • No traveling or accommodation costs will be paid in connection with any prize awarded or attendance at any subsequent launch reading(s) of winning poems.

The Prizes

1st Prize £300
2nd Prize £150
3rd Prize South Bank Poetry Membership (worth £50)
4th Prize: A two year subscription to South Bank Poetry magazine.
5th Prize: A one year SBP magazine subscription.

Additionally, five commended poets will have their poems published in SBP, along with the prize winners. The rest of the poems long-listed by the judge, Mimi Khalvati. There will be a reading at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, London. All those included in the list will be invited to read at the subsequent launch readings at the Poetry Society’s Cafe in The Poetry Place at 22 Betterton Street with extended readings for the prize-winning and commended poets.


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