James Berry Poetry Prize

 Full details 

Open date: 1 April 2021

Closing date: 1 July 2021

No Entry Fee

PRIZE: 3 equal winners each to receive £1,000 prize, expert mentoring & debut collection published with Bloodaxe Books

The James Berry Poetry Prize will assist poets of colour with talent ready to take their work to the next level via mentoring and publication. Devised by Bernardine Evaristo, OBE, and Nathalie Teitler, the prize is modelled on The Complete Works mentoring programme previously supported by Arts Council England.

The prize is free to enter. It is open to poets of colour, who are UK residents (permanently reside in the UK: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man) who have not yet published a book-length collection, with special consideration given to LGBTQ+/disabled poets and poets from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. It is the first national poetry prize to include both mentoring and book publication. Please read the Terms and Conditions for full specification regarding elibibility criteria.

A panel of judges will choose three equal winning poets. The winning poets will be invited to take part in an annual James Berry Poetry Prize reading as part of the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts events series.

The prize is generously funded this year by Arts Council England.



Applicants must send the following three documents (plus the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form detailed below):

  • Personal Statement
  • Writing CV
  • Portfolio of 10-12 pages of poems

All three items must be separate documents (PDF advised to retain formatting) and emailed together in one email as attachements to jamesberrypoetryprize@newcastle.ac.uk

Please also fill out the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form and send to ncenla@newcastle.ac.uk

The Personal Statement should be 2 pages maximum. It must include your name, address, phone number and email, plus answers to the following three questions:

  • How would winning the James Berry Poetry Prize benefit you?
  • What qualities are you looking for in a mentorship and how will it help you?
  • How did you discover poetry in your life and what does it mean to you?

The Writing CV should be 2 pages maximum. It should include details of any publications, readings, performances, previous mentoring experiences, creative writing degrees, teaching, editing, reviews and any relevant professional work.

The Portfolio of 10-12 pages of poetry must be the applicant’s original work and may have been published previously in a pamphlet, journal, online, anthology, YouTube, etc, as long as acknowledgement is made.

All files must be either a .doc, .docx or .pdf. All entries will be judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on any page of the portfolio. Entries must be written in English, can be on any subject and can be written in any style or form.

Any queries about the prize can be sent to jamesberrypoetryprize@newcastle.ac.uk

Shortlisted poets and winners will be notified by the end of September 2021.



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