Wolverhampton Literature Festival in collaboration with Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists are on the hunt for poets across the world.

The competition opens on 1 November and closes on 31 December, this year’s theme is ‘Aspects of Love’.

Poets are being asked to use ‘aspect of love’ as a prompt to explore love in any of its different forms, whether that be love of a person or of a place, the joy of love, or the grief for love lost, or your passion for evenings spent doing yoga or knitting, any form of love is welcome. 

Winners will be chosen by poet Liz Berry. Liz, born in the Black Country and now living in Birmingham, is an award winning poet/writer. Her first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. 

Liz's pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. A new book of her collaboration with photographer Tom Hicks will be published by Hercules Editions in 2021. Liz is a patron of Writing West Midlands and works as a tutor for organizations including the Arvon Foundation and The Poetry School.   

First prize winner will receive £400. Second place will receive £150 and there are 3 3rd prizes of £25. Results will be announced on Monday 1 February, 2021. Shortlisted poems may be published in a Wolverhampton Literature Festival Anthology 2021. The winning poets will be invited to read their poems at Wolverhampton Literature Festival on Sunday 14 February, 2021 (subject to Covid restrictions). 

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see that Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists is once again involved with Wolverhampton Literature Festival, returning for its fifth year, and that they are showcasing poetry to the city from all areas of the globe. I urge all to get involved with the competition and use this platform to showcase their creativity.”

Liz Berry said: "It makes me so happy to know that poetry is thriving in the West Midlands and that the Wolverhampton Literature Festival is fast becoming a beacon for our region, shining its light to welcome writers and readers from near and far. I'm excited to be judging the festival's poetry competition this year. What am I looking for? True love of course! This year's competition theme is Aspects of Love and after the hard year we've had, I'm longing to read poems about love in all its strangeness and rich colour. Love for partners, family, lurchers, bicycles, ripe pears, favourite words, the exact spot on the OS map that your mom was born on! Whatever moves you. Be tender, be urgent, be joyful, be melancholy, be unexpected.

“But more than anything, take joy in the making of your poems. Competitions are about being judged but poetry isn't. Writing poems, especially in difficult days, is a beautiful and reviving act. I'll be glad to be kept company by every poem you send, knowing that out there, across the sometimes lonely miles, poets are keeping the flame alight.”

The competition opens 1 November and closes midnight GMT on 31 December. Entries received after this time will not be considered. Suitable for 16 years plus. Poems must be in English and no more than 40 lines.

The fee to enter is £4. If multiple poems are entered in the same submission, £10 will be charged for 3 poems and then £3 for each subsequent poem in that submission. Maximum number of poems in a single submission is 5. Payment is via Paypal.

Full terms and conditions to the competition can be reviewed at Wolverhampton Literature Festival