The Ledbury Poetry Festival Competition is now open for entries,with a first prize of £1000 cash, and a residential course at Ty Newydd, The National Writers’ Centre for Wales. Winners also have the opportunity to read their poems at next year’s festival.

Poet in Residence Fiona Sampson MBE will judge all entries. Speaking of the competition, she said: “Entering the competition is a way to take part in the wonderful Ledbury Poetry Festival whether or not you can get along to any of the events. Poetry is a great way to communicate with people you’ve never met: I look forward to discovering many new poets I’ve never come across before.”

The Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition has been an important first step in many poets’ careers. Jacob Polley, winner of this year’s T.S. Eliot Award, started his career with a win at Ledbury in 2001. Other previous winners include Maitreyabandhu (2010), Jonathan Edwards (2014) and Jacqueline Saphra (2007). The Competition is increasingly international with the previous two years won by Americans Miller Oberman (2016) and Jane Satterfield (2015). The Festival prides itself on a lasting relationship with its competition entrants and winners: many are asked back for performances, residencies and workshops. “Your Festival has been so crucial in my development” says Jonathan Edwards.

The competition is open to all entries of original, previously unpublished work across categories for Adults, Young People (12-17 years) and also Children (11 and under). Entry fees are £5 for the first poem £5 and £3.50 for each subsequent poem. Children and Young People enter their first poem free.

Entry forms and full details of the Adult, Young People and Children’s Competition are on the website www.poetry-festival.co.uk