Call for submissions: Wells Festival of Literature | Deadline 30 June 2019


Competitions are an integral part of the Wells Festival of Literature, with entries increasing every year, and submissions arriving from all over the world. Please note, there is an entry fee.

2019 Competitions

This year’s International Competitions run 1 April – midnight 30 June 2019. The judges will present the prizes at a ceremony during the Festival in Ritchie Hall, Wells on Sunday 20 October 2019. Immediately preceding this, the shortlisted poets will be invited to read their entries. This special occasion is one of the highlights of the Festival when, for the first time, the winning writers are revealed and rewarded.

Open Poetry Competition

This year’s Open Poetry judge is Simon Armitage, the newly elected Poet Laureate! Simon also writes extensively for television, theatre and radio. A former probation officer, he is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds and was also elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford (2015-2019). He received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2018 and his new poetry collection is Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic

Short Story Competition

Our Short Story judge is Mark McCrum who began his career as a travel writer, with a trio of well-received books. These were followed by a candid account of the UK’s first Reality TV programme, Castaway 2000, and a best-seller about Robbie Williams on tour. After Going Dutch In Beijing, a lighthearted look at global etiquette, and Walking With The Wounded, the true story of four Afghan veterans reaching the North Pole, he turned to crime with The Festival Murders and Cruising to Murder.

Book for Children Competition

Gill Lewis, our Book for Children judge, is a children’s author who writes books about our human connection with the natural world. Her books have been published in more than twenty-five languages and have won prizes for environmental literature both in the UK and abroad, including the US Green Earth Book Award and the German Prize for Environmental Literature for Young People.

This year’s prize money is 1st £750, 2nd £300, 3rd £200 and Local Prize £100 for the Short Story, Open Poetry and Book for Children competitions.

Enter the Competitions Online

Enter onlinealternatively you can Enter by Post.

Young Poets Competition

Our judge in this exciting and inspirational competition is Miriam Nash – a poet, performer and educator. Her first collection of poems All the Prayers in the House was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2017. It won an Eric Gregory Award (2015) and was runner-up for the Edwin Morgan Award (2016). Miriam leads creative writing and performance workshops in schools, museums, mental health organisations and prisons.

This year’s prize money is 1st £150, 2nd £75, 3rd £50 for the Young Poets competition
The first prize winner will also receive a year’s subscription to the Poetry Society

Enter by Post

Printed entries must be on A4 paper and accompanied by the entry form and payment.
To ensure anonymity, please do not put your name or address on the poem or on either of the stories.
Download the Open Poetry, Short Story and Book for Children form
Download the Young Poets form
Payment in sterling (cheques or postal orders payable to Wells Festival of Literature). Please include a stamped self-addressed envelope or postcard if you would like a receipt, and keep a copy of your work.
Postal instructions are on the form

The deadline for all entries is midnight on 30 June 2019


Shortlisting, Judging, Prize-giving, Reading of Shortlisted Poems

Prizes for all four competitions (Open Poetry, Young Poets, Short Story and A Book for Children) will be presented on Sunday 20 October 2019. All shortlisted participants will be notified in advance.

Before the prize-giving, shortlisted poets will be invited to read their successful entries in a poetry reading celebration. All are welcome to this culmination of the competitions, and the occasion offers poets and members of the public the opportunity to meet and enjoy each other’s achievements.

All shortlisted poems will be printed in the admission ticket / programme which will be available from mid September. Please note, the Poetry Society advises us that a poem’s appearance in this entry ticket does not constitute ‘publication’.

Following the poetry readings, the prizes will be awarded for all four competitions and a list of the successful authors/ poets, together with the titles of their works, will be posted on the Wells Festival of Literature’s website after the conclusion of the ceremony


Deadline: Midnight 30th JUNE 2019

Enquiries about the Wells Festival of Literature call for submissions should be directed to

Please always refer to their website for full details and information.

Please note, these competitions are run by Wells Festival of Literature, not Commonwealth Writers.