FORWARD PRIZES FOR POETRY 2024


Please ensure you have read the Entry Guidelines on our website.

If you have questions about the guidelines, please consult the FAQs. 


If you have technical difficulties completing the online entry form, please email support@submittable.com. 

If you are unable to complete the online entry form for other reasons, please email prizes@forwardartsfoundation.org before Wednesday 1 March 2024 to make alternative arrangements. 

The Forward Prizes for Poetry are organised by Forward Arts Foundation, a charity that celebrates excellence in poetry and increases its audience. Its initiatives include National Poetry Day, a mass celebration of poetry that falls this year on 3 October 2024. Forward Arts Foundation is supported by The Literary Estate of Felix Dennis, Arts Council England, John Ellerman Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Southbank Centre. Find out more on our website.

NOTE: Please note this Prize Category is NOT open for self-submission. 

A prize of £10,000 will be given to the author of the best collection of poetry published in the UK or Republic of Ireland between 19 September 2023 and 18 September 2024.

  1. All entries must have been published in the UK or Republic of Ireland, including works from within the British Isles.
  2. Poems or collections of poetry must be written predominantly in English.
  3. A poet’s work may be submitted in multiple categories but a collection may only be entered in one category (thus, a collection cannot be entered into Best Collection and Best First Collection). Poets will only be shortlisted for one Forward Prize per year.
  4. Collection must be published between 19 September 2023 and 18 September 2024.
  5. Books published simultaneously in the UK/ Ireland and overseas are eligible, but only if the UK/ Ireland publication is simultaneous (e.g. within 12 months of the first overseas publication). Translations from other languages are not eligible.
  6. Pamphlets are not eligible for the Forward Prizes. All collections should be more than 40 pages of poetry (i.e. not including front and end matter).
  7. Collections should contain predominantly new poems or poems which have not previously been published in book form (excluding pamphlets).
  8. Except in cases where reasonable accommodation is necessary (e.g. vision impairment), submissions will initially be reviewed digitally by judges. If judges nominate the book for further stages of the prize, publishers will be required to post 6 print copies to judges and Forward. 
  9. If collections are not yet in final book/print by the date a physical copy is requested, bound proofs  will be sufficient, but it’s imperative you send 6 additional copies once the final book is available.
  10. All works entered for the Forward Prizes will also be considered for inclusion in The Forward Book of Poetry. This is a non-profit venture and it is therefore a condition of entry that publishers allow poems to be reproduced without payment of an anthology fee, but with appropriate acknowledgements, for distribution throughout the world in the English language, in print, as an eBook, on the Forward Prizes and National Poetry Day websites, in our newsletter, associated publications and social media channels.
  11. Collections of poetry must be submitted by the publisher. 
  12. Publishers submitting entries must be headquartered in the UK or ROI; or they must have a substantial UK/ROI presence involved in the acquisition and editing of the book submitted. This includes, but not limited to, the acquiring editor being based in the UK/ROI; the majority of the editors working on the publication being based in the UK; the publication being specifically targeted and packaged for the UK market.
  13. Entries from individual poets of their own work to this category will not be accepted. This includes self-published collections. If an author has been a part of the editorial team at the publishing house at any point across the relevant eligibility period, we view this as a conflict of interest, and the book is not eligible for the purposes of these prizes.
  14. Publishers may enter up to four collections of poetry for this category. In addition to these allocations, publishers may also enter collections by poets who have been shortlisted for any Forward Prizes for Poetry over the previous 10 years.
  15. Anthologies, collections, performances or poems of works by more than one author are not eligible.
  16. Books and poems aimed specifically at children are not eligible.
  17. Work submitted on behalf of an author who is deceased at the date of publication of the work is not eligible.
  18. Publishers must share contact details of the shortlisted poets with Forward within a week of request.
  19. Shortlisted and winning poets will be expected to be available for publicity around the awards and where possible to attend the ceremony. 
  20. Publishers of shortlisted collections will be required to cover the costs of shortlisted poets’ travel and accommodation to participate in the ceremony. If a shortlisted poet cannot attend, publishers will work with Forward to identify an emerging young poet to read in their stead and publishers will cover the costs.
  21. Poets will be recorded during the shortlisting phase and at the awards ceremony or for promotion of the Prizes and must complete promotional materials to promote their work.
  22. Please check the date and eligibility guidelines carefully. Any work that does not meet the rules will be disqualified. The Foundation’s decision on the eligibility of an entry is final and binding.
  23. Anyone working for Forward Arts Foundation, or related to our staff, trustees, and judging panel may NOT submit.
  24. Because Forward has lost its sponsor, we would be grateful if you would please complete a brief survey to help shape the future of these prizes.

NOTE: Please note this Prize Category is NOT open for self-submission. 

 A prize of £5,000 will be given to the author of the best debut collection of poetry published in the UK or Republic of Ireland between 19 September 2023 and 18 September 2024.

  1. All entries must have been published in the UK or Republic of Ireland, including works from within the British Isles.
  2. Poems or collections of poetry must be written predominantly in English.
  3. A poet’s work may be submitted in multiple categories but a collection may only be entered in one category (thus, a collection cannot be entered into Best Collection and Best First Collection). Poets will only be shortlisted for one Forward Prize per year.
  4. Collection must be published between 19 September 2023 and 18 September 2024.
  5. Books published simultaneously in the UK/ Ireland and overseas are eligible, but only if the UK/ Ireland publication is simultaneous, eg. within 12 months of the first overseas publication. Translations from other languages are not eligible.
  6. Pamphlets are not eligible for the Forward Prizes. All collections should be more than 40 pages of poetry (i.e. not including front and end matter).
  7. Collections should contain predominantly new poems or poems which have not previously been published in book form (excluding pamphlets).
  8. Except in cases where reasonable accommodation is necessary (e.g. vision impairment), submissions will initially be reviewed digitally by judges. If judges nominate the collection for further stages of the prize, publishers will be required to post 6 print copies to judges and Forward. 
  9. If collections are not yet in final book/print by the date a physical copy is requested, bound proofs will be sufficient, but when the book becomes available, it’s imperative you send 6 additional copies.
  10. All works entered for the Forward Prizes will also be considered for inclusion in The Forward Book of Poetry. This is a non-profit venture and it is therefore a condition of entry that publishers allow poems to be reproduced without payment of an anthology fee, but with appropriate acknowledgements, for distribution throughout the world in the English language, in print, as an eBook, on the Forward Prizes and National Poetry Day websites, in our newsletters, associated publications and social media channels.
  11. Collections of poetry must be submitted by the publisher.
  12. Publishers submitting entries must be headquartered in the UK or ROI; or they must have a substantial UK/ROI presence involved in the acquisition and editing of the book submitted. This includes, but not limited to, the acquiring editor being based in the UK/ROI; the majority of the editors working on the publication being based in the UK; the publication being specifically targeted and packaged for the UK market. 
  13. Entries from individual poets of their own work in this category will not be accepted. This includes self-published collections. If an author has been a part of the editorial team at the publishing house at any point across the relevant eligibility period, we view this as a conflict of interest, and the book is not eligible for the purposes of these prizes.
  14. Publishers may enter up to four collections of poetry each for this category. In addition to this allocation, publishers may also enter collections by poets who have been shortlisted for any Forward Prizes for Poetry over the previous 10 years.
  15. Anthologies, collections, performances or poems of works by more than one author are not eligible.
  16. Books and poems aimed specifically at children are not eligible.
  17. Work submitted on behalf of an author who is deceased at the date of publication of the work is not eligible.
  18. Publishers must share contact details of the shortlisted poets with Forward within a week of request.
  19. Shortlisted and winning poets will be expected to be available for publicity around the awards and where possible to attend the ceremony. 
  20. Publishers of shortlisted collections will be required to cover the costs of shortlisted poets’ travel and accommodation to participate in the ceremony. If a shortlisted poet cannot attend, publishers will work with Forward to identify an emerging young poet to read in their stead and publishers will cover the costs.
  21. Poets will be recorded during the shortlisting phase and at the awards ceremony or for promotion of the Prizes and must complete promotional materials to promote their work.
  22. Please check the date and eligibility guidelines carefully. Any work that does not meet the rules will be disqualified. The Foundation’s decision on the eligibility of an entry is final and binding.
  23. Anyone working for Forward Arts Foundation, or related to our staff, trustees, and judging panel may NOT submit.
  24. Because Forward has lost its sponsor, we would be grateful if you would please complete a brief survey to help shape the future of these prizes.

NOTE: This is the only Prize Category where poets can self-submit. 

A prize of £1,000 will be given to the author of the best new performance or a new poem to camera performed or produced between 5 March 2023 and 4 March 2024.

This prize category views “performance” as the act of a poet inhabiting a poem using their voice and the body. Though the poem may also be published in written form, this category is not simply for a poet reading their poem, but for the delivery of a poem that is crafted and shaped with an eye to engaging a viewing audience, whether it be down a lens or sitting in a venue. A performance makes the poem come alive in a new and exciting way and is an authentic experience of a single live moment rather than a tailored, edited film. We invite submissions that push the boundaries beyond the written form and give a different experience to simply reading a poem.


  1. The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem – Performed, is the only Forward Prizes category that allows for self-submission, as such we will accept only one submission per poet.
  2. Submissions cannot exceed 5 minutes. If the poem is part of a longer performance please edit the video and submit only the extract you wish to enter. We will not accept longer videos with reference to time signatures.
  3. The poem can be recorded in front of a live audience or performed directly to camera.
  4. This is not a poetry film competition; the poem must be filmed in a single take without a professional filmmaker/filtering or editing the final submission.
  5. The only tools to be used are the poet’s voice and body, no other instruments, music, or technology should be included (though poets can use their voice in any manner they choose, including singing, rapping, beat boxing). 
  6. All entries must be performed and produced by UK-based/ROI-based poets, or poets with a significant relationship (touring, performing) with the UK/ROI.
  7. Poems  must be performed predominantly in English.
  8. A poet’s work may be submitted in multiple categories, but poets will only be shortlisted for one Forward Prize per year.
  9. Video submissions must be produced between 5 March 2023 and 4 March 2024.
  10. We accept video entries via a private Youtube Or Vimeo link.
  11. Performers must have a track record of working in the form that must fit at least two of the following criteria: feature in or regular performance in a spoken word/open mike night; 2 years of developing your practice outside a formal educational context; working with a mentor/workshop leader to develop your practice; and/or significant prizes, fellowships or residencies to allow you to develop your creative work.
  12. All submissions must be accompanied by a written transcript to ensure the poem is accessible to all audiences, though the poem will be assessed on the virtue of the performance and the poem together rather than the written piece.
  13. All works entered for the Forward Prizes will also be considered for inclusion in The Forward digital library. Forward is a non-profit venture and it is therefore a condition of entry that poets allow poems to be shared in perpetuity without payment of a fee, but with appropriate acknowledgements, for distribution throughout the world and on the Forward Prizes and National Poetry Day websites, in our newsletter and associated publications and social media channels.
  14. Performances or poems written by more than one author are not eligible.
  15. Poems aimed specifically at children are not eligible.
  16. Shortlisted and winning poets will be expected to be available for publicity around the awards and where possible to attend the ceremony. 
  17. If a shortlisted poet cannot attend, the poet will work with Forward to identify a tailored, bespoke solution to ensure their work is featured appropriately in the ceremony.
  18. Poets will be recorded during the shortlisting phase and at the awards ceremony or for promotion of the Prizes and must complete promotional materials to promote their work.
  19. Please check the date and eligibility guidelines carefully. Any work that does not meet the rules will be disqualified. The Foundation’s decision on the eligibility of an entry is final and binding.
  20. Anyone working for Forward Arts Foundation, or related to our staff, trustees, and judging panel may NOT submit.

NOTE: Please note this Prize Category is NOT open for self-submission. 

 A prize of £1,000 will be given to the author of the best written single poem that has been published in a newspaper, periodical or magazine in the UK or Republic of Ireland between 5 March 2023 and 4 March 2024, or has been the winner of a poetry competition with a prize awarded between the same dates.

  1. All entries must have been published or produced in the UK or Republic of Ireland, including works from within the British Isles.
  2. Single poems entries must be written predominantly in English.
  3. A poet’s work may be submitted in multiple categories. Poets will only be shortlisted for one Forward Prize per year.
  4. Poems must be new work published between 5 March 2022 and 4 March 2023.
  5. We will only accept the submission of a single poem. Where multiple sections with distinct titles are submitted, these may be deemed a sequence and will not be considered as eligible for a single poem category.
  6. Book-length poems should be submitted in the Best Collection or the Best First Collection category.
  7. All works entered for the Forward Prizes will also be considered for inclusion in The Forward Book of Poetry. This is a non-profit venture and it is therefore a condition of entry that publishers allow poems to be reproduced without payment of an anthology fee, but with appropriate acknowledgements, for distribution throughout the world in the English language, in print, as an eBook, on the Forward Prizes/National Poetry Day websites, in our newsletter, in associated publications and on social media channels.
  8. Written single poems must be submitted by the editors and literary editors of print and digital newspapers, periodicals and magazines published in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Poems which have won competitions in the UK or Ireland must be submitted by the organising body. Competitions must have a public announcement with details of what the recipients receive as a prize. 
  9. Publishers submitting entries must be headquartered in the UK or ROI; or they must have a substantial UK/ROI presence involved in the acquisition and editing of the book submitted. This includes, but not limited to, the poetry editor based in the UK/ROI; the majority of the editors working on the publication being based in the UK; the publication being specifically targeted and packaged for the UK market. This includes online journals and web-only publications.
  10. Competitions submitting entries must have a registered UK address and predominantly UK-based judges involved in identifying winners. 
  11. Entries from individual poets of their own work in this category will not be accepted. If an author has been a part of the editorial team at the publishing house at any point across the relevant eligibility period, we view this as a conflict of interest, and the book is not eligible for the purposes of these prizes.
  12. Publishers may enter up to three poems for this category.  Each submission should be a poem by a different poet, namely you should not submit multiple poems by one author.
  13. Series of poems are not eligible for this prize, nor are single poems by more than one author.
  14. Poems aimed specifically at children are not eligible.
  15. Work submitted on behalf of an author who is deceased at the date of publication of the work is not eligible.
  16. Publishers must share contact details of the shortlisted poets with Forward within a week of request.
  17. Shortlisted and winning poets will be expected to be available for publicity around the awards and where possible to attend the ceremony. 
  18. If a shortlisted poet cannot attend, publishers will work with Forward to identify an emerging young poet to read in their stead.
  19. Poets will be recorded during the shortlisting phase and at the awards ceremony or for promotion of the Prizes and must complete promotional materials to promote their work.
  20. Please check the date and eligibility guidelines carefully. Any work that does not meet the rules will be disqualified. The Foundation’s decision on the eligibility of an entry is final and binding.
  21. Anyone working for Forward Arts Foundation, or related to our staff, trustees, and judging panel may NOT submit.
  22. Because Forward has lost its sponsor, we would be grateful if you would please complete a brief survey to help shape the future of these prizes.
The Forward Prizes for Poetry