Wolves Lit Fest poetry competition

On November 1st 2020, Wolverhampton Literature Festival opens its fourth poetry competition to poets from across the globe. With the festival moving to the weekend of 12-14 February, we simply had to choose ‘aspects of love’ for this year’s theme. Use this as a prompt to explore love in any of its different forms, whether that be love of a person or of a place, whether you write about the joy of love, or the grief for love lost. The Saturday afternoons you give up for your beloved team, or your passion for evenings spent doing yoga or knitting. Write about love in whatever way you fancy, however it inspires you, and send your entries in before December 31st!

1st prize for this competition is £400. 2nd prize, £150. There are three 3rd prizes of £25
You’ll find details of how to submit, and the rules for the competition, further down the page. Please read them carefully.

Poems will be read, and winners chosen, by our judge Liz Berry.

Our Judge

Liz Berry

Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. Her first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Liz’s pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. A new book of her collaboration with photographer Tom Hicks will be published by Hercules Editions in 2021. Liz is a patron of Writing West Midlands and works as a tutor for organisations including the Arvon Foundation and The Poetry School.  

A note from Liz on judging the WoLF poetry competition

It makes me so happy to know that poetry is thriving in the West Midlands and that the Wolverhampton Literature Festival is fast becoming a beacon for our region, shining its light to welcome writers and readers from near and afar. 

I’m excited to be judging the festival’s poetry competition this year. What am I looking for? True love of course! This year’s competition theme is Aspects of Love and after the hard year we’ve had, I’m longing to read poems about love in all its strangeness and rich colour. Love for partners, family, lurchers, bicycles, ripe pears, favourite words, the exact spot on the OS map that your mom was born on!  Whatever moves you. Be tender, be urgent, be joyful, be melancholy, be unexpected.

But more than anything, take joy in the making of your poems. Competitions are about being judged but poetry isn’t. Writing poems, especially in difficult days, is a beautiful and reviving act.  I’ll be glad to be kept company by every poem you send, knowing that out there, across the sometimes lonely miles, poets are keeping the flame alight. 


  1. The competition opens on November 1st, 2020, and the closing date for receipt of entries is midnight GMT on December 31st, 2020. Entries received after this time will not be considered.
  2. The fee to enter is £4. If multiple poems are entered in the same submission, £10 will be charged for three poems and then £3 for each subsequent poem in that submission. Maximum number of poems in a single submission is five. Payment is by Paypal (see button below)
  3. Entries to the competition must be made by email to wolfpoetrycomp@gmail.com In the body of the email, put your name, address, number of poems entered, and your Paypal reference no.
  4. Each poem must be sent as a separate.doc or .docx file attached to your email, with the poem title as the document name. Do not put your name or any identifying marks on the poem – they are judged anonymously.
  5. Poems must be your own unaided work, and on the theme of ‘aspects of love’. You may interpret this theme as literally or figuratively as you wish.
  6. Poems must be in English, and no more than 40 lines long.
  7. Poems must not have been previously published (either in print or on a website), nor should they be currently submitted for future publication elsewhere.
  8. We can’t amend poems after they’ve been submitted, or refund fees paid.
  9. The competition is open to anyone aged sixteen and over (with the exception of members of the core team of Wolverhampton Literature Festival).
  10. Results will be announced on Monday 1st February 2021. Shortlisted poems may be published in a WoLF anthology. The winning poets will be invited to read their poems at Wolverhampton Literature Festival on Sunday 14th February 2021 (subject to Covid restrictions)
  11. Copyright of the poems remains with the author, but Wolverhampton Literature Festival reserves the right to publish successful entries in a competition anthology, and on the festival website.
    Good luck!!

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