Cornwall’s only independent subscription library, The Morrab Library in Penzance, has partnered with the Dennis Myner Trust to host The Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024.

The competition does not have a theme. Entries may be written in any form or style, in up to 40 lines, and to be eligible, they must be original and not previously published. The poems will be judged anonymously, allowing those penning their first poem to compete alongside poets more deeply established in their career.

Now in its second year,  the international poetry competition also features a new “Sonnet Prize” for the best poem written in this form as well as a children’s competition to celebrate young poetic talent (find out more about the children’s competition here). 

The competition is once again sponsored by the Dennis Myner Trust, which maintains the legacy of Dennis Myner, a Library member and invaluable contributor to its longevity. The name of the prize pays homage to Dennis’ sister, Patricia Eschen, a fellow Library supporter and patron of the arts. 

The competition closes on Friday 19th July 2024 (23:59 BST).

Keep an eye on our social media @pepoetryprize for updates.

Competition Judges

Katrina Naomi

Award-winning poet Katrina Naomi has returned to judge the overall Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry in 2024.

Katrina Naomi is an award-winning poet, performer and mentor. Her new collection, Battery Rockshas won the Arthur Welton Award and is due for publication by Seren in July 2024. Katrina’s poetry collections have won an Authors’ Foundation Award and Saboteur Award, and she is a recipient of the Keats-Shelley Prize. Katrina’s poetry has appeared on Poems on the Underground, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Poetry Please, and in the TLSThe Poetry Review and Modern Poetry in Translation.

She offers advice to those drafting their entries:

“Don’t write for the judge, don’t try to sound like them or anyone else, write for yourself, write what only you can write. Be as idiosyncratic as you wish. Be specific, be you. Once you’ve written, put the poem away for a couple of weeks, longer if you can, then edit. Check every word, check every idea, check every image and sound. Check that the poem rings out in some way, that it resonates. Then send it in. And good luck.”

Jodie Hollander

Wisconsin-born and Arizona-based poet Jodie Hollander will be judging the “Sonnet Prize”.

Jodie studied poetry in England and is the author of two full-length collections of poetry – her debut full-length collection My Dark Horses (2017) and Nocturne (2023), the latter of which was long-listed for the Laurel Prize in nature writing. Jodie’s work has appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, Poetry Magazine and The Harvard Review, to name a few.

She is also the originator of ‘Poetry in the Parks,’ in conjunction with several National Parks and Monuments in the US. 

The Sonnet Prize

This year, there is a new, additional, “Sonnet Prize”, an award for the best poem written in this form. It will be judged separately and the winner will receive prize money of £1500. 

The word ‘sonnet’ is derived from the Italian sonetto, meaning ‘little song’. A sonnet is usually fourteen lines long, written in rhyme and meter and sometimes has a change of argument, otherwise known as a volta, eight lines into the poem.

There are different types of sonnet with different rhyme schemes and characteristics, including the Petrarchan sonnet and the Shakespearean sonnet

Jodie Hollander says “I’m excited to read any sonnet that is fourteen lines long. I am especially interested in sonnets that play close attention to sound, are well crafted, and engage with compelling subject matter.”

The Prizes

The prize money for the overall competition has been increased in 2024 to: £2000 for first prize; £1000 for second prize; £500 for third prize and £1500 for the “Sonnet Prize”.

All shortlisted poets will be invited to a hybrid (in person and online) prize giving event in October in West Cornwall.

Competition Rules & FAQs

Please read the competition rules carefully before entering the competition to check that your poem is eligible. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules stated below. Failure to comply with the rules and formatting requirements may result in disqualification.

Click here to read the competition rules
  1. Entries close on Friday 19th July 2024 at 23:59 (BST). Entries submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
  2. The competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over at the time of entering.
  3. You can only enter one poem into the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024.  
  4. The poem must be the entrant’s original work.
  5. Previously published work is not eligible. Your poem must not have been previously self-published, published online or in print, or broadcast, or accepted for publication. Your poem must not have been a winner in a previous competition. If a poem is published elsewhere after being submitted for this competition, it must be withdrawn from the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024 by emailing:  poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk  
  6. Simultaneous submissions to other competitions are allowed on the understanding that you will immediately withdraw your poem from the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry if it wins elsewhere. To withdraw your entry please email: poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk  
  7. The entrant can submit one poem only to the competition. 
  8. Alterations cannot be made to poems once submitted.
  9. Copyright remains with the author, but The Dennis Myner Trust and The Morrab Library reserve the right to have entries performed on the radio, TV, or stage, published on the internet, in a book or used for publicity purposes at any stage in the future. 
  10. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into and the competition judges, staff of The Morrab Library and The Dennis Myner Trust will not provide feedback on entries.
  11. The Dennis Myner Trust and The Morrab Library reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice. 
  12. Should your entry be chosen as the winner, runner up or awarded as highly commended, your name will be shared on The Morrab Library website, relevant social media posts and in a press release.
  13. Winning entries will be shared on our website, social media, and used for press purposes. Physical copies of all of the shortlisted poems will be retained in The Morrab Library’s archives. 
  14. Any photographs taken of the winning entrants may be used on our website and in social media and for press purposes unless consent is expressly withheld and recorded on the competition entry form.
  15. When winners are selected we will check what name you wish to use before sharing  – pen names will be allowed.
  16. The Dennis Myner Trust and The Morrab Library reserve the right to withhold prizes if such an action is justified.
  17. No current employee or Trustee of The Dennis Myner Trust and The Morrab Library is eligible to enter The Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024.

Entry formatting rules: 

  1. Poems must be submitted via the entry form on The Morrab Library’s website. Postal entries, entries received by email or in person will not be accepted. 
  2. The entry fee of £5 is payable within the online entry submission system. 
  3. All entries are judged anonymously; therefore the name of the poet must not appear anywhere in the poem itself, or in the file name or title. Entries submitted with the name of the poet in the title, poem document, or file name, will be disqualified. 
  4. Your poem must not exceed 40 lines (the title and blank lines are not counted as a line).
  5. Your poem must be written in the English language. 
  6. The poem must be in 12pt font, in any legible font, in black ink.
  7. The poem document must not include any photographs or artwork. 
  8. Your poem must be formatted as a pdf file. This ensures that your poem is entered with its intended formatting.
  9. The file name should be the title of the poem, or, for untitled pieces, please use the first line of the poem instead.
  10. Poems written in all poetic forms are eligible to win the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry. In 2024, there will be a prize for the best sonnet. When entering the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry you may request that your poem is also submitted for the Sonnet Prize, free of additional charge. Please write ‘Sonnet’ before the title of your poem in the file name. This will ensure that the poem is considered for both categories: e.g. ‘Sonnet poem title’. 

The Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

The Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry Privacy Policy can be found here and The Morrab Library full Privacy Policy can be found here.

If you have any questions about the competition then please read the FAQs below where we hope to have answered them already. If this does not answer your question then please email us at poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk.

Click here to read the FAQs

Q: Do you offer a bursary for those who cannot afford the competition entry fee? 

A: Unfortunately we are not able to offer bursaries for this competition.

Q: What is a sonnet? 

A: “The word ‘sonnet’ is derived from the Italian sonetto, meaning ‘little song’. A sonnet is a poem usually fourteen lines long, written in rhyme and meter and sometimes has a change of argument, otherwise known as a volta, eight lines into the poem.

There are different types of sonnet with different rhyme schemes and characteristics, including the Petrarchan sonnet and the Shakespearean sonnet.

Jodie Hollander says “In judging this sonnet contest, I’m excited to read any sonnet that is fourteen lines long, written in either meter or free verse, is rhymed or unrhymed, and has a volta at some point in the poem. I’m especially interested in sonnets that play close attention to sound, are well crafted, and engage with compelling subject matter.”

Q: Can I enter more than one poem?

A: No. We are asking for poets to put their best poem forward for this competition. It can be written in any form or style.

Q: Can I enter one sonnet and one poem written in another form? 

A: No, you can only enter one poem to the competition. If your poem is a sonnet then please identify it as such in the title of the poem by writing “Sonnet” in front of the title of your poem in the file name of the pdf i.e. “Sonnet: Title’. 

If your poem is not a sonnet then there is no need to write the form in the file name, just the title. 

Q: Is the title included in the line limit (40 lines)?

A: No. The title is not included in the line count.  Epigraphs and dedications are not included in the line count either.  Your poem will be disqualified if it is over the 40 line limit.

Q: Can I make changes to my entry after submission?

A: No. If you would like to withdraw your entry from the competition then please email poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk

Q: Do you accept entries via email or post?

A: Unfortunately, as we’re such a small team, we do not have the capacity this year to accept entries via email, post or in person for the adults competition. You can only enter the competition online via the entry form.

If you are the parent or guardian of a child who would like to enter the Children’s Competition please see the rules and entry requirements here (morrablibrary.org.uk/childrenspoetryprize) as they are different to the Adult’s competition. 

If you are having difficulty using the online entry form then please contact poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk and one of our team will endeavour to help you. 

Q: My work was shortlisted in the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry in 2022. Can I re-submit it?

A:Yes, unless it won (first, second, third prize) or has been published elsewhere in the intervening time. 

Q: Are simultaneous submissions to other competitions allowed?

A: Simultaneous submissions to other competitions are allowed on the understanding that you will immediately withdraw your poem from the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024 if it wins elsewhere. To withdraw your entry please email: poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk 

Q: Must entries be unpublished?

A: Yes. Previously published work is not eligible

Q: Does a poem on my blog and social media count as publication?

A: Yes. Your poem must not have been previously self-published, published online or in print, or broadcast, or accepted for publication. Your poem must not have been a winner in a previous competition. If a poem is published elsewhere after being submitted for this competition, it must be withdrawn from the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024 by emailing:  poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk  

Q: Are translations allowed?

A: The author’s translation of their own work into English is eligible but someone else’s translation of their work is not eligible. 

Q: Can I use a pen name?

A: Please complete the entry form using your full name. When winners are selected we will check what name you wish to use before announcing the winners. Pen names will be allowed when we share the poems on social media, press releases and on our website.  

Q: Can I include artwork, photographs or illustrations in my poem? 

A: No, please use typed text only. 

Q: I accidentally included my details on the poem I submitted to the competition. Will it be disqualified?

A: All entries need to be judged anonymously, so if your name is anywhere on the document it will be disqualified. 

Q:  Can you check that the poem I entered is the one I intended to enter?

A: Unfortunately, as we are a small team running the competition we will not be able check work once submitted. 

Q: How will I know that my entry has been submitted to the competition? Will I receive a confirmation email? 

A: You will receive an automated email once you have submitted your entry and your payment has been taken. 

Q: How do I pay to enter the competition? 

A: You can pay to enter the competition via credit card, debit card and PayPal via the entry form link on our website.  

Q: When will the competition winners be notified?

A: Shortlisted poets will be notified before the 30th September 2024 and invited to a hybrid digital and in person awards ceremony which will take place in Penzance (Cornwall, U.K.) in October 2024.  We regret that we do not have the staffing capacity to contact everyone who enters the competition to notify them of the results. The full results will be posted on the website before 31st October 2024. 

Q: Will you be having a prize giving ceremony and where will it be held? 

A: All shortlisted poets for both the adults and children’s competition will be invited to attend the same hybrid awards event which will take place in Penzance in October 2024. The competition winners will be revealed at the prize giving event. Winners will be invited to read during the prize giving event. Shortlisted poets will be asked in advance whether they wish to read their poem aloud, should it win the competition, or if they would prefer one of our judges to read it aloud. 

Q: When will the prize money be paid to the competition winners? 

A: The prize money will be paid to the winners as soon as possible after the prize giving.

How to enter

Please make sure that you have read the full competition rules above.

Entry to the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry is £5 per person. You can only enter one poem to the competition. 

When entering the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2024 you may request that your poem is also submitted for the “Sonnet Prize”, free of additional charge. Please write ‘Sonnet:’ before the title of your poem in its file name e.g. ‘Sonnet: poem title’. 

Please also tick the “sonnet” box on the form. This will ensure that your poem is considered for both categories.

Please click the link below which will redirect you to the entry form, where you will also be directed to pay the £5 entry fee.

We hope you enjoy writing a poem for the competition this year and wish you the very best of luck! 

Other Enquiries

For press enquiries, or if you would like to receive a pdf of the competition poster to print and display in your local library, bookshop or other venue, please email poetryprize@morrablibrary.org.uk. 

Keep an eye on our social media @pepoetryprize for updates and details of poetry events happening in the Library. 

All photographs of The Morrab Library by Ian Kingsnorth, illustrations by Harriet-Jade Harrow and animations by Karen Lorenz.