The Forward Prizes for Poetry

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

FORWARD PRIZES FOR POETRY 2021


Submissions are now closed. 


The Forward Prizes are sponsored by Bookmark Content. With this support, the Forward Arts Foundation has given awards since 1992 to more than 80 poets, including many early in their careers.

Category A: The Forward Prize for Best Collection 

£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 2020 and 18 September 2021.


Category B: The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection 

£5,000, sponsored by the Estate of Felix Dennis, will be given to the author of the best first collection of poetry published in the UK or Republic of Ireland between 19 September 2020 and 18 September 2021.


Category C: The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 

£1,000 will be given to the author of the best single poem that has been published in a newspaper, periodical or magazine in the UK or Republic of Ireland between 9 March 2020 and 8 March 2021, or has been the winner of a poetry competition with a prize awarded between the same dates.

All works entered for the Forward Prizes for Poetry will also be considered for inclusion in The Forward Book of Poetry, an anthology of the year's best poetry, as chosen by the Prizes' judges. 


Entries and Eligibility 

Terms and conditions 

1) Collections of poetry (Categories A & B) must be submitted by the publisher. Single poems (Category C) may be submitted by the editors and literary editors of print newspapers, periodicals and magazines published in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Online journals and web-only publications may submit if a majority of their editors is based in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Poems which have won competitions in the UK or Ireland (Category C) must be submitted by the organising body.

2) Six copies of each book submitted must be sent to the Forward Prizes for Poetry, PO Box 341, Manchester, M21 3EJ to arrive by 18 March 2021. Please note, PO Box stands for Post Office Box and only accepts Royal Mail services. If you or your distributor use a private courier company (including Parcelforce) or are posting from outside the UK, we recommend contacting us in good time to make alternative arrangements. We advise you to write your return address and phone number on the outside of all parcels.

3) All entries must have been published in the UK or Republic of Ireland within the dates specified above. Books published simultaneously in the UK/ Ireland and overseas are eligible, but only if they are simultaneous, eg. within 12 months of the first overseas publication. Translations from other languages are not eligible.

4) Poems submitted to Best Single Poem must not have been published in a collection or pamphlet before 8 March 2021. Book-length poems should be submitted in the Best Collection or Best First Collection category.

5) Entries from individual poets of their own work will not be accepted. This includes self-published collections.

6) Publishers may enter up to four collections of poetry for each Category A & B, and up to three poems in Category C. In addition to these four titles, publishers may also enter, for categories A and B, collections by poets who have been shortlisted for any Forward Prizes for Poetry over the previous 10 years.

7) Collections (Categories A & B) may be submitted in bound proof form if the final book is not available before the submission deadline.

8) A collection may be entered in one category only.

9) Pamphlets are not eligible for the Forward Prizes. All collections should be more than 40 pages.

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/National Poetry Day websites, in our newsletter, in associated publications and on social media channels.

11) Anthologies or collections of works by more than one author are not eligible. Books aimed specifically at children are not eligible. Collections should contain predominantly new poems or poems which have not yet been published in book form. Poems or collections of poetry must be written in English.

12) Work submitted on behalf of an author who is deceased at the date of publication of the work is not eligible.

13) Shortlisted and winning poets will be expected to be available for publicity around the awards and where possible to attend the ceremony. Poets may also be recorded at the ceremony or for promotion of the Prizes.

14) Publishers must share with Forward Prizes’ organisers contact details of the shortlisted poets within a week of request.

15) 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.

16) No poem, or collection of poetry, entered for the Forward Prizes will be returned. Please enter on Submittable by 8 March. Books must be received by 18 March.

17) In addition to the UK and Ireland, the Forward Prizes also accept works from crown dependencies.

18) Poets may only be shortlisted for one Forward Prize per year.

If you have questions about the guidelines, please consult the FAQ on our website. 

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 Holly Hopkins, Forward Prizes Manager, at Forward Arts Foundation, via holly@forwardartsfoundation.org or call on +44 (0)7593 313 468 before Thursday 4 March 2021 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 7 October 2021. Forward Arts Foundation are supported by Bookmark, 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.

The Forward Prizes for Poetry