The White Review Poet’s Prize 2020

The White Review Poet’s Prize 2020 is now open for entries. The Poet’s Prize was founded in 2017 with support from Jerwood Charitable Foundation, and is for English-language poets who are at the crucial stage of creating their debut pamphlet or collection. This year, for the first time, the Prize will be run in partnership with CHEERIO, a new, independent publishing and film production company itself partnered by the Estate of Francis Bacon. This unique relationship will run for a minimum of three years. Through this support, the Poet’s Prize award money will increase to £2,500. 


The winning poet will receive a significant financial reward of £2,500, expert, personalised professional and editorial advice, and publication of their entry in The White Review. The Prize is open to residents of the UK and Ireland.


The White Review Poet’s Prize only accepts entries of poetry portfolios (5 – 10 pages per portfolio), as opposed to single-poem entries.


The Poet’s Prize is also unique among UK poetry prizes in actively encouraging work which explores and expands the possibilities of the page-poetry form.


In its inaugural year the Prize was awarded to Lucy Mercer, whose portfolio was published in THE WHITE REVIEW No. 22. The following year the Prize was awarded to Charlotte Geater, whose portfolio was published in THE WHITE REVIEW No. 25. In 2019 the Prize was awarded to Kaleem Hawa, whose portfolio was published in THE WHITE REVIEW No. 28.


The judges for the 2020 White Review Poet’s Prize are Jay Bernard, Emily Berry and Kayo Chingonyi.


The winner will be announced at an online event in February 2021.


The submission period is 10 November 2020 until 17.00 p.m. on 10 January 2021.





Jay Bernard is the author of the pamphlets Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl, English Breakfast and The Red and Yellow Nothing, which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2017. A film programmer at BFI Flare and an archivist at Statewatch, they also participated in The Complete Works II project in 2014, in which they were mentored by Kei Miller. Jay was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2005 and a winner of SLAMbassadors UK spoken word championship. 


Emily Berry is the author of two poetry collections, Dear Boy (2013) and Stranger, Baby (2017), both from Faber & Faber. She edits The Poetry Review. Many Nights, a photobook featuring Jacqui Kenny’s pictures and the complete version of ‘The Secret Country of her Mind’, first published in THE WHITE REVIEW No. 29, will be published in 2021.


Kayo Chingonyi is poetry editor at THE WHITE REVIEW. He is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and the author of two pamphlets, Some Bright Elegance (Salt, 2012) and The Colour of James Brown’s Scream (Akashic, 2016). His first full-length collection, Kumukanda, was published in June 2017 by Chatto & Windus. He was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and has completed residencies with Kingston University, Cove Park, First Story, The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and Royal Holloway University of London in partnership with Counterpoints Arts. He was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016 and co-edited issue 62 of Magma Poetry and the Autumn 2016 edition of The Poetry Review. Kayo is also an emcee, producer, and DJ and regularly collaborates with musicians and composers both as a poet and a lyricist. He holds down a fortnightly show on Netil Radio called Keep It 100 which is a celebration of groove and feeling in music spanning from rockabilly ditties to afrobeats (with regular forays into R&B, hip-hop, and House).





Please read all the terms and conditions below.


Entries cost £12, or £20 with the latest issue of The White Review, or £49.99 with a four-issue subscription. To enter, purchase a ‘Poet’s Prize Entry’ from our online store, and then email an attachment of the receipt, along with your submission as a PDF or word.doc, to, with the subject line ‘Poet’s Prize Submission’. Only entries with valid attached receipts will be considered.


There are also 50 free entries available to writers on a low income; if you are a low-income writer and would like to apply for a free entry, please read the extra terms and conditions at the bottom of this page.


Link to Poet’s Prize Entry:





1. The White Review Poet’s Prize will be open to all writers who have yet to publish a single-authored poetry collection or pamphlet (in any language), and who are residents of the United Kingdom or Ireland.


2. Poets who have published, or who have existing contracts for forthcoming, single-authored poetry collections or pamphlets are not eligible to enter.


3. Poets may only submit one entry each, written in English (no translations).


4. Poems submitted must not have been previously published, either online or in print.


5. Entries must be in the form of portfolios; a portfolio must contain 5 – 10 pages of poetry. A ‘page’ contains a maximum of 42 lines (excluding the title). Each individual poem will appear on a new page. For example, a submission of 5 poems that each stood at 60 lines would total 10 pages; a submission of 10 poems that each stood at 42 lines would total 10 pages. Portfolios that are not between 5 and 10 pages of poetry will not be eligible.


6. Please include, on the first separate page of your submission, a cover letter which lists the titles of the poems in your submission, the number of poems in your submission, your name, your postal address, and your email address. Please do not provide any additional information about your work or biographical history. Entries must be sent in the following formats only: .pdf, .doc, .docx.


7. There is a £12 entry fee (£20 with an issue of The White Review, £49.99 with a four-issue subscription). All proceeds go to The White Review (Charity Number: 1148690), which ‘specialises in the publication of artistically or educationally meritorious works of new or emerging artists and writers’, and will help to ensure the future viability of the Poet’s Prize and the organisation’s other activities (print and online publishing, public events). 


8. Entrants must pay the entry fee of £12 (or £20 with an issue of The White Review) in order to be eligible, except for low-income entrants.


9. Entry fees and submissions must be made in the following manner: pay for an entry via The White Review’s online store; you will receive an email receipt once payment has been made; email your submission to and attach the email receipt.


10. Only submissions received and paid for by 17.00 (GMT) on 10 January 2021 will be considered.


11. Entries that are not paid for, incomplete, are corrupted or submitted after the deadline will not be considered.


12. The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.


13. Writers who have published books of prose (fiction or non-fiction) are eligible to enter.


14. Extracts from the shortlisted portfolios will be published online on THE WHITE REVIEW website.


15. The winning entry will be published in a print issue of THE WHITE REVIEW.


16. The winning poet will receive a cash prize of £2,500, to be paid in full no later than 90 days after the awarding of the prize.


17. The winning poet will receive creative feedback on their work.


18. Shortlisted entrants will be notified by email when they have made the list.


19. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.


20. No editorial feedback will be provided to unsuccessful entrants.


21. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.


22. The White Review will have the exclusive right to publish the winning and shortlisted portfolios for eight months from first publication in The White Review. After eight months, the rights will revert to the authors, who may publish the poems elsewhere with appropriate credit to The White Review.


23. Only submissions which meet all Terms and Conditions will be considered.


24. By entering this competition, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.




The White Review is offering free entry to the Poet’s Prize for 50 low-income writers. If you are a low-income writer and would like to apply for free entry, please follow the below application guidelines. We will receive applications for free entries for four weeks, from 10 November until 8 December 2020. The White Review will grant eligible applicants free entry on a first-come first-served basis.




Free entry for the White Review Poet’s Prize is offered to UK-based writers who are on a low income – for example receiving benefits such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.


To apply, email, with the email subject line ‘Poet’s Prize Free Entry Application’. In the body of the email, please include:


¥ Your full name

¥ Your email address

¥ Your postal address

¥ A short written statement describing how you are eligible


All applicants will be informed whether or not their applications are successful by the end of 8 December. 


Only one free entry will be granted per applicant.


Applicants must wait to see if their application is successful before entering the Poet’s Prize; The White Review will not grant refunds on already paid-for entries.


All entries will be judged in the same, anonymous way. The White Review Poet’s Prize terms and conditions apply to both paid-for and free entries.


We are grateful to Spread The Word for inspiring and helping to provide the guidelines for this free entry offer to low-income writers.




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