Monday 6 December 2021

WoLF Poetry Competition 2022

On November 1st 2021, Wolverhampton Literature Festival opens its poetry competition to poets from across the globe for the fifth consecutive year. Last year’s competition was our most successful to date, and we’re happy to say this has allowed us to increase the amount we give out in prizes. This year, 1st prize remains £400, and 2nd prize £150, but the value of the three 3rd prizes goes up from £25 to £50, and we’re also including a new prize category for poems sent in by people living in a WV postcode. These poems will be eligible for the main prizes, but in addition one WV poem will win £75, with two more getting runners-up prizes of £25.

The 2022 festival takes place over the weekend of 4-6 February, and the theme for both the festival and the competition is ‘Sounds of the city’. Send us stories of sirens, sonnets to seagulls on rooftops, sagas about drunks singing their way home. Surprise us with what the sounds of the city mean to you, and send your entries in before December 31st!

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 Casey Bailey.

Our Judge

Casey Bailey is the Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020-2022. He is a writer, performer and educator born and raised in Nechells, Birmingham. Casey’s second full collection of poetry ‘Please Do Not Touch’ (2021) was published by Burning Eye Books. Casey has performed nationally and internationally, spent some time on a residency with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and taught, facilitated and led up and down the country. His debut poetry pamphlet ‘Waiting at Bloomsbury Park’ was published by Big White Shed (2017). His first full collection of poetry ‘Adjusted’ (2018) was published by Verve Poetry Press.

A note from Casey on judging the WoLF poetry competition
When I read a poem, I tend to consider two things; what has the poet observed in a way that is unique? and how have they used language that allows me to see it through their eyes? I ’m sure that the poems that are shortlisted for the Wolves Lit Fest Poetry Competition will be the ones that have excited me through the vision that birthed them and the execution that allowed me to see that vision for myself.


1. The competition opens on November 1st, 2021, and the closing date for receipt of entries is midnight GMT on December 31st, 2021. 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. Poems from a WV postcode will additionally be entered for consideration in the new WV prize.
4. Entries to the competition must be made by email to In the body of the email, put your name, address, number of poems entered, and your Paypal reference no.
5. 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.
6. Poems must be your own unaided work, and on the theme of ‘sounds of the city’. You may interpret this theme as literally or figuratively as you wish.
7. Poems must be in English, and no more than 40 lines long.
8. Poems must not have been previously published in any public forum (either in print or on a website), nor should they be currently submitted for future publication elsewhere.
9. We can’t amend poems after they’ve been submitted, or refund fees paid.
10. The competition is open to anyone aged sixteen and over (with the exception of members of the core team of Wolverhampton Literature Festival).
11. Winners and shortlisted poets will be contacted a few days in advance of results being announced on the festival website and our website on Monday 1st February 2022. If you do not hear from us before Feb 1st, please understand that your poem has not been placed on this occasion. 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 6th February 2022 (subject to Covid restrictions)
12. 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.

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