Monday 10 April 2017

Belfast Book Festival announces the Mairtín Crawford Award


Belfast Book Festival

Verbal Arts -

Entry Fee £5

at Crescent Arts Centre

The Belfast Book Festival is privileged to announce the inaugural Belfast Book Festival Mairtín Crawford Award.

The Award is aimed at poets working towards their first full collection. Both published and unpublished poets are invited to submit between 6 and 10 poems, with the only stipulation being that they have not yet published a full collection. The winner of the award will receive a six month mentorship. The winner will also be invited to read live at a designated slot during the Belfast Book Festival 2017.

The winning poet’s mentor will support the winner with editorial advice, endeavor to help them achieve significant breakthroughs both creatively and professionally, and overcome many of the wide ranging challenges a working poet routinely faces. They will help the poet grow artistically, and develop professionally.

Poets who wish to submit, must pay an entry fee of £5. The closing date for submissions is midnight of Friday 19th May. A full list of terms and conditions and how to enter can be found below.

About Mairtín

Mairtín Crawford was born in Belfast in 1967 and educated at Rathmore Grammar School and Queen’s University Belfast where he earned a bachelor of arts in English and Scholastic Philosophy and an MA in Irish Writing.

In the 1990’s he co-founded and edited The Big Spoon Literary magazine and was production and arts editor of Fortnight Magazine. He was a prominent figure of Giro’s Poetry Collective and, whilst based at the Crescent Arts Centre, now home of the Belfast Book Festival, he taught creative writing and was later appointed the Director of Between The Lines arts festival where, having befriended the great poet Allen Ginsberg, he succeeded in bringing the legendary Beat poet to the Crescent Arts Centre for two absorbing readings in 1993.

Mairtín died suddenly in 2004.

Mairtín wrote as he lived, with a combination of intelligence and daring, revolutionary spirit and generosity of heart. - Moyra Donaldson

Entry Rules

All poems submitted can be on any subject. Poems written with children or young adults in mind are accepted but not recommended.
Entries must be in English.
All entries are judged anonymously.
Up to 10 poems but no fewer than 6 can be included in a single submission.
Poems: 60 lines maximum. The title is not included in the line count, nor are lines between text or stanzas.
One payment of entry fee entitles entrants to submit up to 10 pieces of poetry.
Online entries are greatly preferred, although postal entries are accepted.
The deadline date for entries is 12 midnight (UK time) on May 19th 2017 (postal entries postmarked May 19th but received later will still be accepted).
Entrants may withdraw entries from the competition by notification via email or post only; entry fees will not be refunded.


The Competition is open to writers of any nationality and of any residence aged 18 and over at the time of the closing date.
Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant. By submitting you are confirming that the work is your own.
Entries can have been previously published in print or online, been broadcast or won a prize on the condition that the entrant has not had a collection of poems published.
Submissions will become automatically ineligible should the entrant have a collection accepted for publication before the prize-giving date.
Entrants must inform The Belfast Book Festival as soon as possible if the entrant accepts an offer of publication for a collection elsewhere. Entry fees in these circumstances will not be refunded.


A shortlist of 10 poets will be announced on the opening day of the Belfast Book Festival - Wednesday June 7th 2017.
Winners will be announced Monday 12th June 2017.
The shortlisted poets and winning poet will be notified privately via email shortly prior to public announcement on the website and social media.


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains entirely with the author, but the Belfast Book Festival Mairtin Crawford Award will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning poems in any future anthologies of the prize or/and in any relevant promotional material

Receipt of entry

All receipt of entry will be confirmed via email or post. If a postal entry requires receipt of entry a stamped SAE must be included with the original submission.


£5 for each submission of up to 6 poems.
Fees are to be paid via the Crescent Arts Centre website, by phone on 028 90 242338 or in person at The Crescent Arts Centre. Valid order number once fee is paid to be included in the title of email submissions or cover letter of postal submissions.


The judges' decision is final.

All pieces are judged anonymously
No individual correspondence with any judge may be entered into at anytime.

Submissions Formatting


Entries must be written in English.

Entries should be typed, single spaced, in plain, black, 12 point, Times New Roman font.
Entries must be no longer than 60 lines. There is no minimum line count. (Space between text or stanzas not included in line count)
Each page should be numbered at the bottom of the page if the poem runs to more than one page long.
All pages must include a header with the title of the poem only. If the entry is untitled, please entitle it with the opening five words of the piece. Judging is anonymous so the author’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.

All entries should include a cover letter with a short bio and proof of paid entry fee.

All entries should be saved as Microsoft Word (.doc / .docx) or PDF documents.

Postal and E-mail Submissions

Postal submissions should comply with the above guidelines, but include a separate sheet of paper on which contact details, including name of entrant, email address or in the case of an entrant having no online access, a self addressed, stamped envelope.
Postal submissions should be sent to:

Mairtin Crawford Award

The Crescent Arts Centre

2-4 University Street


County Antrim


E-mail submissions should be sent to;

Title line should read "MCA Submission (Name of Poet) (Order Number of Paid Submission Fee)

Once an entry has been made, no correspondence regarding the making of amendments to an entry will be entered into. If an entrant wishes to amend an entry, a separate paid entry must be made and the words “Amended Final Version” marked clearly on the cover page

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