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National Poetry Competition 2020 Awards Event

Thursday 25 March 2021, 7:00 pm9:00 pm

National Poetry Competition 2020 artwork – Arna Miller

The Poetry Society invites all to its awards celebration for The National Poetry Competition 2020, in the company of this year’s judges Karen McCarthy Woolf, Jonathan Edwards and Neil Astley, who will introduce the winning poets.

The National Poetry Competition, run by The Poetry Society since 1978, is one of the most prestigious poetry competitions worldwide for new poetry. The 2020 competition attracted over 18,000 entries from 95 different countries.

This year’s awards event will include the announcement of this year’s winners, readings by this year’s top ten National Poetry Competition winning poets, plus guest performances from recent National Poetry Competition winners Wayne Holloway-Smith, Momtaza Mehri and Mary Jean Chan.

A premiere of the film poem of ‘The Posh Mums are Boxing in the Square’ inspired by Wayne Holloway-Smith’s winning poem from the National Poetry Competition 2018 will be screened.

The event will also announce the winner of the Peggy Poole Award 2020.


Guest readers

Wayne Holloway-Smith won the National Poetry Competition in 2018, his recent collection, Love Minus Love, was shortlsted for the TS Eliot Prize. 

Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche, published by Faber (2019). Flèche won the Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. Chan’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice, and has received an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. In Spring 2020, Chan was guest co-editor at The Poetry Review. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in London.

Momtaza Mehri is a poet, essayist and independent researcher. Her work has appeared in the likes of Granta, Artforum, The Guardian, BOMB Magazine, and The Poetry Review. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London and columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space, as well as a Frontier-Antioch Fellow at Antioch University.