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The Manchester Poetry Prize

Poetry Prize: £10,000*
Deadline for entries: Friday 23rd September 2016
Entry fee: £17.50
Chair of Poetry Judges: Adam O'Riordan

The 2016 Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes are now closed to online and postal entries. We will be announcing the short-lists here soon. For information about the prize-giving ceremony, please visit:

£10,000 prize for the best portfolio of three to five poems (maximum combined length: 120 lines). Open internationally to new and established writers aged 16 or over (no upper age limit).

For updates on the competition, please join the Manchester Writing School mailing list and click to indicate that you are interested in “Manchester Writing Competition”. If you'd like to be sent a postal entry form, please supply us with your name and address via +44 (0) 161 247 1787.

Poetry Prize Judges 2016

Sarah Howe Sarah Howe is a British poet, academic and editor. Born in Hong Kong to an English father and Chinese mother, she moved to England as a child. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. She has performed her work at festivals internationally and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Having previously held fellowships at Cambridge University and Harvard's Radcliffe Institute, she is currently a Leverhulme Fellow at University College London. Photo credit: Hayley Madden. 

Helen Mort Helen Mort was born in Sheffield. Her first collection Division Street was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize and, in 2014, won the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize. Her second collection No Map Could Show Them (Chatto & Windus) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She is a keen runner and the author of Lake District Trail Running (Vertebrate) and has edited The Owl and the Pussycat, a poetry anthology for children. She joins the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met as Lecturer in Creative Writing in September 2016.

Adam O'RiordanAdam O'Riordan is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Met and has chaired the Manchester Poetry Prize panel since 2012. In 2008, he became the Wordsworth Trust Centre for British Romanticism’s youngest ever poet-in-residence and his first collection, In the Flesh, won a 2011 Somerset Maugham Award. His debut collection of short stories The Burning Ground will be published by Bloomsbury in the UK and W.W. Norton & Company in the USA in 2017 and his second collection of poems A Herring Famine will be published by Chatto in 2017.


Terms and Conditions (the rules)


  • The Manchester Writing Competition: The Manchester Poetry Prize 2016 (the "Competition ") is organised by the Manchester Metropolitan University ("MMU").
  • The Competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over who is not excluded by these Rules. There is no upper age limit for entry.
  • Members of MMU staff (who may also be students) and their spouses are excluded from being eligible to enter.
  • The deadline for entries is 5pm (UK time) on 23rd September 2016. Entries received after this deadline will not be considered but fees may still be charged. The online entry system may become busy as the deadline nears, so entrants are advised not to leave submission until the last minute.
  • Entrants must submit a portfolio comprising a minimum of three and a maximum of five poems There is no line limit – minimum or maximum – for each individual poem, but the overall maximum length of the poems combined must not exceed 120 lines. Titles, blank lines and page numbers are not included in the line count.
  • Entrants may submit as many portfolios of three to five poems as they wish, but each portfolio must be submitted as a separate entry with a separate entry form and a separate entry fee.
  • All work submitted for consideration can be on any subject, and written in any style or form, but must be the entrant's own original writing, and should not have appeared in print or appear on a website (including blogs and social networking sites) or have been broadcast, for the duration of the Manchester Poetry Prize (which is deemed to begin on the date of entry and end on 25th November 2016). Work found to be published in print or on a website or to have been broadcast will be disqualified without refund of the entry fee.
  • All work must be typed or word-processed, clearly legible and written in English. Entrants should not include illustrations or artwork. Pages submitted by post should be stapled, paper-clipped or loose, so that they can be separated easily for photocopying/scanning. Beyond these stipulations, presentation (e.g. font) is at the entrant’s discretion.
  • Translations into English of work written in other languages can be accepted, provided that the source text is the entrant's own original work and has not been published (in print or on a website including blogs and social networking sites) or submitted for consideration elsewhere; translations into English of work published (in print or on a website including blogs and social networking sites) elsewhere in other languages will not be accepted.
  • Entries will be accepted only by post or online via the competition website. Submission via other means (e.g. email) will not be accepted.
  • Postal entries will only be valid if accompanied by a completed entry form and payment. Postal entrants should enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope or postcard if they would like acknowledgement of entry. Acknowledgement will normally be sent out within 28 days of entry, once the entry has been processed and checked.
  • Online entries must be made via the Manchester Writing Competition website: Online entrants will be required to pay online and will receive an automated email acknowledging receipt at the time of entry.
  • All entries will be assigned an ID number and made anonymous upon receipt. Judges will not be privy to entrants' names during the reading and judging processes. Names will be reattributed to entries only after the short list and winners have been decided.
  • Entries submitted for consideration may be withdrawn from the Competition by entrants by notification in writing (by post or email) to be received by the Manchester Writing School at MMU. Where work is withdrawn, entry fees will not be refunded.
  • Amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted; poems cannot be amended, corrected or substituted. If entrants wish to correct errors in poems, they must withdraw their portfolio of poems from the Competition as above and enter again with payment of entry fee. No correspondence or discussion about amendments will be entered into.
  • Entries will not be returned under any circumstances.
  • MMU reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the entrant has breached any of these Rules, or made a false declaration on the entry form.
  • MMU cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the Competition.
  • MMU will act in accordance with current UK data protection legislation in relation to your personal data.
  • The Competition and Rules will be governed by English Law and any dispute will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  • MMU reserves the right to amend these Rules where it is deemed necessary to do so or where circumstances are beyond MMU's control. Any changes to the Rules will be posted on the Manchester Writing Competition website.
  • Submission of an entry will be deemed to imply unqualified acceptance of the Competition's Rules. In the event of any dispute regarding these Rules or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of MMU shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.


Judging and selection

  • A judging panel of practising writers will select a short-list of entrants and, from that list, select the winners. The judges' decisions are final, and no correspondence about their decisions will be entered into. MMU reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice. The judges reserve the right not to award the prizes, or to reduce the prize money, if, in their opinion, such action is justified for any reason.
  • Short-listed entrants will be invited to attend a prize-giving event on the evening of 25th November 2016. The winners will be announced at this event. Short-listed entrants will be notified by telephone on or before the end of 4th November 2016 and asked to confirm attendance at the event by no later than Friday 11th November 2016. In cases where short-listed entrants are unable to attend the event, they will be invited to send a representative (a friend or relative) on their behalf; if a representative is unable to attend, short-listed entrants will be asked to submit a short written statement to be read out at the ceremony should they win.



  • The cost of entry is £17.50 (sterling) per portfolio of three to five poems.
  • Payment may be made by cheque or postal order or debit/credit card only. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to "Manchester Metropolitan University".
  • POSTAL ENTRANTS: if a portfolio is received successfully but the cheque or debit/credit card payment does not clear, the entrant will be contacted by MMU within 28 days of the deadline for entries and asked to attempt payment again, or to provide an alternative method of payment, or to withdraw from the Competition.
  • ONLINE ENTRANTS: if an online entrant successfully submits a portfolio but then fails to complete payment at the checkout the entry will not be counted and the entrant will need to start their online entry again.
  • In any cases where payments have not cleared by 4th November 2016, entrants will be automatically disqualified from the Competition.
  • Payment in any form other than cheque or postal order or debit/credit card cannot be accepted and payment via other methods is made at the entrant's own risk.



  • Selected pieces may be printed in publications and journals hosted by MMU and may appear in electronic format on the MMU website, or in other electronic forms. The copyright in each poem submitted remains with the author. Entrants are deemed to grant to MMU a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry submitted for the duration of the Competition (which is deemed to end on 25th November 2016), and for publicity purposes (including in print and electronic publications) thereafter. Entrants are free to submit poems entered into the Competition for consideration elsewhere (i.e. to other competitions or for publication) after 25th November 2016.



  • "The Manchester Writing Competition: The Manchester Poetry Prize" will award one prize: a cash sum of £10,000.00 to the winner(s). The judges may decide to award The Manchester Poetry Prize jointly and divide the cash sum accordingly. The maximum number of winners will be two. The prize money is generated entirely through entry fees and may be reduced if an insufficient number of entries are received.



  • Postal entries should be sent to: Manchester Poetry Prize 2016, MMU Finance Service Office, Manchester Metropolitan University, Righton Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester, M15 6BG, United Kingdom.
  • Queries should be sent to the Manchester Writing School at MMU: +44 (0) 161 247 1787 or