Stratford Literary Festival has launched its annual national competition for budding young poets - the best submissions will appear in a special Festival Collection with the cover being the winning entry from a young design student.
Anyone aged 5 to 21 years with ambitions to write a poem and have it published has until March 4 to submit a poem of no more than 600 words on any theme. Students taking design or photography courses are also invited to design a cover for the collection by the same deadline, the winner receiving £400 and their design being used as the cover to the collection.
Poems will be judged in one of three age categories: 5-10 years, 11-16 years and 17-21 years and the winner from each category will receive a prize of £100, £200 and £300 respectively. The judges include the acclaimed children’s writer and performance poet, Alex Wharton, whose books include Daydreams and Jellybeans. The collection of winners and those most highly commended will be published in the spring and available to buy both online and in Stratford Waterstones.
Both competitions, which have run for many years and attract submissions from across the UK, are intended to recognise and encourage young creative talent. They mark the legacy of poet and The Week publisher, Felix Dennis, and the prize is kindly supported by his literary executors. Previous cover design winners have gone on to pursue careers in book design.
Festival director Annie Ashworth said: "The last two years have been very challenging for young people and we hope that the chance to enter a national competition will encourage and enthuse them to write poetry. The opportunity to enter a book jacket competition will also provide a valuable project to add to a portfolio that will impress potential employers.
"We are really looking forward to seeing how creative everyone can be this year."
Full details are available at: stratfordliteraryfestival.co.uk/competitions