The Poetry Business 2016/17 International Book & Pamphlet Competition

Publish Date: Oct 05, 2016

Deadline: Mar 01, 2017

One of the career milestones for very many poets of note has been winning the prestigious Poetry Business competition."

— Anne-Marie Fyfe

JUDGES: Ian Duhig & Mimi Khalvati

DEADLINE: last post on Wednesday 1st March 2017, or midnight on Wednesday 1st March 2017 for online entrants

ENTRY FEE: £28, or £25 for North subscribers, Friends of the Poetry Business and members of the Poetry Society.

PRIZES: Publication by smith|doorstop Books; a share of £2,000 cash; a launch reading at The Wordsworth Trust; publication in the North magazine; book vouchers from Inpress Books and more. 

The Poetry Business is delighted to announce the 31st International Book & Pamphlet Competition and the Inaugural Wordsworth Trust Reader's Prize judged by Ian Duhig & Mimi Khalvati are now open for entry.

Entrants are invited to submit a collection of 20-24 paged of poetry. Four winners will be selected by the judges to be published by our award winning imprint, smith|doorstop books. All winners will also receive a share of £2,000, publication in the North magazine, a reading at The Wordsworth Trust and gift vouchers from Inpress Books. 

All winners will be garunteed pamphlet publication, however there is also an opportunity to subit a full-length manuscript, which if successful will be published as a book in the Autumn of 2017. 

Full-price entry is £28. Subscribers to the North, Friends of The Poetry Business, and members of the Poetry Society are eligible for the discounted fee of £25. All entrants will also receive a 20% off discount cofe for the Inpress Books website at

Entries can be submitted by post (with a cheque and completed entry form) or online.

Former Homelessness worker Ian Duhig's seventh book 'The Blind Roadmaker' is a PBS Spring Recommendation and is shortlisted for the 2016 Forward and Roehampton Prizes. A Cholmondeley Award recepient and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Duhig is a joint winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for short stories, winner of the Forward Best Poem Prize, the National Poetry Competition twice and has three times been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

Mimi Khalvati has published eight collections with Carcanet Press, including Child: New & Selected Poems, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.
She is the founder of The Poetry School where she teaches. She has received a Cholmondeley Award, a major Arts Council Writer's Award and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent collection, The Weather Wheel (Carcanet, 2014), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and Book of the Year in The Independent.

Ann and Peter Sansom are directors of the Poetry Business and editors of the North magazine and smith|doorstop books. Ann’s publications include Romance and In Praise of Men & Other People (Bloodaxe) and Peter’s include Writing Poems (Bloodaxe) and Selected Poems (Carcanet).

The Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Prize

1st Prize - £1000

2nd Prize - £250

3rd Prize - £50

The Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Prize is a new single poem prize that will run alongside the International Book & Pamphlet Competition. All entrants to the main competition will automatically be entered into this prize, which will celebrate and showcase the best single poems by entrants to our main International Book & Pamphlet Competition. 

The competition judges will shortlist 12 poems from all manuscripts entered into the main competition. These will be published on The Poetry Business’ website, The Wordsworth Trust’s website, and in a handsome leaflet that will and widely distributed shortly after the main competition winners are announced. Readers will vote for a first, second and third prize winner. The votes will be counted an announced in late Spring 2017. 

The three prize winners will be awarded cash prizes and will be invited to read a selection of their work alongside the winners of the main competition at the Wordsworth Trust. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winning poems, will be published in the North magazine in 2017.

About The Wordsworth Trust

The Poetry Business gratefully acknowledges support from The Wordsworth Trust for The Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Prize.  

The Wordsworth Trust is a living memorial set up to celebrate the works of William Wordsworth. The organization - now an independent charity, was set up to celebrate the contemporary as much as remember the past. It offers much in the way of contemporary visual art and poetry readings, alongside the historical home of Wordsworth, Dove Cottage (1799-1808). The Wordsworth Trust also looks after an important collection of works by Wordsworth and the other writers and artists of the period.  

The Wordsworth Trust’s activities today include producing special exhibitions on particular writers, artists or themes, enabling schoolchildren to enjoy poetry, leading activities in local communities, and presenting a year-round events programme.

Previous winners

The International Book & Pamphlet Competition was the first pamphlet competition of its kind in Britain. Now in its 31st year, it has launched the careers of many well established and successful poets; including Daljit Nagra, Michael Laskey, Allison McVety, Pascale Petit, Kathryn Simmonds and Catherine Smith.

The four winning collections are beautifully produced in the renowned smith|doorstop house style. The collections are promoted widely, reviewed in high-quality literary magazines and national newspapers, entered for all eligible awards and prizes and sold in bookshops throughout the UK and through online stockists of smith|doorstop.


I found out I was one of the winners of the 2011 pamphlet competition at the end of a long and particularly strenuous afternoon of playing Hot Cross Buns with 30 trumpet players.  I’d entered a few times before and hadn’t got anywhere, so it was a wonderful surprise.  The whole experience - the editing process with Ann, obsessing about the colour of the cover,  and the care that Ann gave to my work felt magical.  Just as unexpected as the reviews and readings at festivals which followed the publication of the pamphlet, was the feeling of being part of a community of poets, which six years later, still hasn’t worn off. – Kim Moore, winner in the 2011/12 Book & Pamphlet Competition with her collection If We Could Speak Like Wolves.

I've had the good fortune and privilege to be named as a winner in the smith|doorstop pamphlet competition on a couple of occasions, and both times the experience was an unalloyed joy. It's great to have a pamphlet full of your poems out there in the world, receiving reviews in magazines and being entered for various prizes. Better still is the process of finalising your pamphlet with smith|doorstop's cracking editorial team, quibbling over commas and conjunctions, even choosing your own colour for the finished pamphlet. But best of all is the day you get knock at the door, and it's the postman with a large box in his arms, and it's the exact same colour you asked for! – David Tait, winner in the 2010/11 Book & Pamphlet Competition with his collection Love’s Loose Ends and in 2014/15 with his collection Three Dragon Day.


The publicity and reviews took my work seriously and I gained exposure in the PBS and the broadsheets. All this was entirely unexpected and absolutely thrilling. I still feel so excited to have been picked up by smith|doorstop at an early stage of my writing life. - Daljit Nagra, winner with Oh My Rub!, which was also named a PBS Pamphlet Choice & one of the Guardian Books of the Year. 

It was a wonderful boost of confidence for me, winning the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. It felt like a justification of the time I spent writing and an encouragement to keep going. It was the original and only pamphlet competition back then, and so it felt particularly significant — that being judged anonymously on a group of poems, not just a single one. - Michael Laskey, winner in the 1988 Book & Pamphlet Competition with his collection Cloves of Garlic

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