Poetry Competition

1st prize £600, 2nd Prize £150 and
3rd prize worth £99 with several runner up prizes

The Contest

South Bank Poetry’s contest is for London poems. Each year the competition opens on January 20th and closes midnight on the 21st August. (Postal entries postmarked that day from the UK or abroad will be accepted)


The Judge

Peter Ebsworth was the founding editor and publisher of South Bank Poetry from 2008 to August 2015 and he is now involved as both a co-editor and consultant.

Peter’s poems have been widely published in journals and magazines, including: The New Statesman, The Spectator, The Morning Star, Brittle Star, Magma, Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Lunar Poetry, Other Poetry, South, The Delinquent, Under the Radar and the Poetry@3 anthology ‘Poets in the Afternoon’. His collection ‘Krapp’s Last Tape – The Musical’ is published by Flipped Eye.

how to enter

Entry Fee

The entry fees are £5 for the first poem, £3 for the second and any subsequent poems. South Bank Poetry subscribers benefit from reduced fees: £3 for all poems entered. 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 20th January 2020 to 21st August 2020, and pay the appropriate entry fee securely. Enter the poetry competition here or via the tab called Enter Poetry Competition online.

When uploading please upload 2 files, one containing all your poems, with no name or contact details, and the second with all your contact details on.

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 to

South Bank Poetry, The Editors,
Kemp House 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX

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 £600 plus feedback on a pamphlet of poems (24 pages)
2nd Prize £150
3rd Prize South Bank Poetry Membership (worth £99)
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, Katherine Lockton. There will be a reading and celebration in central London. All those included in the list will be invited to read with extended readings for the prize-winning and commended poets.


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