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... Enter here from 18 April - 31 July 2024.

First 50 entries will receive a free copy of the 2021 Prize Anthology


Rosemary McLeish (2nd from right) at a poetry event in Sittingbourne, 2019. 

1 poem - £6

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2 poems - £8

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3 poems - £10

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The Rosemary McLeish Poetry Prize

The Prize will be open for entries on the theme of 'Climate' and 'Climate Change' from 18 April 2024 to 31 July 2024. Longlisted entrants will be notified in August 2024. The winners will be announced at Medway River Lit in November 2024.

If you would like to buy the 2021 winners' anthology - please click here.

About Rosemary McLeish

Rosemary McLeish was a poet and artist who died from cancer in 2020. Her two collections of poetry I am a field and Defragmentation are published by Wordsmithery. The prize supports and promotes writers, which is something Rosemary was always very keen to do. 

Find out more about Rosemary on her website

We are delighted to have as our guest judge Sarah Hehir; Poet & Writer for Stage, Screen & Radio

Sarah's writing for theatre is collaborative and experimental. She tells stories that focus on unheard voices and hidden stories. 

In 2013, she won the inaugural BBC Writer’s Prize for her radio drama 'Bang Up', and in 2016, her TV drama 'The Seafort' was selected for the BBC TV Drama Writers’ Programme. Sarah's short play 'Echoes Through the Dust' appears in the Short Plays with Great Roles for Women anthology.  In 2016, her play 'Zero Down' was transferred from Theatre 503 to The Pleasance, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

Sarah currently writes for 'The Archers' and wrote for BBC 'Doctors'. 

The prize fund has been generously funded by Rosemary's widower, Richard Cooper. 



  1. The competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over at the time of entering who lives in the UK from 18 April 2024.

  2. The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 31 July 2024.

  3. There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.

  4. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.

  5. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.

  6. Entrants will receive confirmation by email within 24 hours, if you haven’t received acknowledgement within 24 hours, please check your spam folder. If there is still no acknowledgement, please email

  7. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified.

  8. The judges will be a representative of Wordsmithery and an invited external judge.

  9. The judges will read all the entries; their decision is final. Neither the judges nor Wordsmithery staff will enter into any correspondence.

  10. No current employee of Wordsmithery is eligible to enter the Rosemary McLeish Poetry Prize.

  11. Any queries, please email


  1. All entries will be judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.

  2. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 50 lines in length (excluding title). Entries can be on any interpretation of ‘Climate’ including, but not limited to, 'Climate Change'.

  3. Poems must be in English.

  4. Poems must be the entrant’s original work.

  5. Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website or made public on social media, broadcast or featured among the winners in another competition before 30 August 2024.

  6. No simultaneous submissions.


  1. Entry is online. To enter the competition, please pay the appropriate fee on Paypal.

  2. The first poem in a submission costs £6. Two poems cost £8. Three poems £10, subsequent poems are £2 each.

  3. There is no limit to how many poems you may enter.

  4. Payment is made via PayPal (a PayPal account is not needed, choose ‘Pay By Debit or Credit Card’ after selecting an option.)  

  5. Our paypal address is:

  6. Email your submissions to - please include the following reference: 'Rosemary McLeish Prize' and the reference number from PayPal.

  7. Please submit all poems on one document via a word or docx attachment.

  8. Please include your name, contact details and address in the body of the email, plus titles of poems.

  9. No names should appear on the submitted document.

  10.  We do not accept postal entries.

  11. All poems will be anonymised prior to the judges reading them.

  12. The first 50 entrants will receive a free copy of the Rosemary McLeish Prize Anthology 2021, posted after the closing date. You will be notified on receipt of your entry whether you've been one of the first 50!

Long listed, short listed and winning entries

  1. All entrants and long listed poets will be notified by the end of August 2024.

  2. Short listed poets will be selected from the longlist by the end of August 2024 and invited to an awards event as part of Medway River Lit in November 2024. All winners will be expected to provide a biography and photograph. There will be a bursary for winners to attend the event.  

  3. The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the long listed, short listed and winning poems, by entering the competition, grant Wordsmithery the right to publish their poem in Confluence Magazine.


  1. The winning poems will be published in Confluence Magazine, which all winners will receive a free printed copy of. 

  2. The first prize is £500, plus a small piece of original artwork by Rosemary McLeish.

  3. The second prize is £200

  4. The third prize is £100

  5. A number of commendations may be awarded at the discretion of the judging panel.

photo of Rosemary McLeish
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