New Beginnings

Over the last year we’ve been living in a suspended state of fear and confusion, and we are all fed up. Political discourse has been toxic, relationships strained, and it feels as though we need some sort of ‘goal’ – something to look, or work, towards.

New Beginnings is a poetry competition seeking to celebrate this theme of New Beginnings, open to all those who feel their voice was silenced in 2020 – from anyone in the world, any age. We want the resulting anthology – scheduled for September – to be a celebration of the end of the toxic aspects of 2020 and the pandemic, to be a glimmer of hope for the future and a manifesto for change.
 

Details | Meet the Judges | Rules | Support the Project | Enter

Details



Competition opens on Monday 15th February
Competition closes on Diversity Day (Friday 21st May)
Longlist announced on Friday 25th June

Entry cost: free

Open to: anyone who feels their voice was silenced in 2020. Anywhere in the world, any age. Rules →

Poetry length: up to 100 lines or 750 words, only one (must be previously unpublished) poem per applicant.

1st prize: £200
2nd prize: £100

Special mentions at the judges’ discretion.

All of the poems on the shortlist will be published in a volume, and everyone included will receive a copy of the book, and will be invited to take place in an online launch event.

Meet the Judges

Photo © Jo Cotterill

Miriam Halahmy

Miriam was a teacher for 25 years, and, having worked with refugees and asylum seekers in schools, her writing engages with historical and contemporary issues that affect children across time – most notably the plight of refugees. Her young-adult novel, Hidden, was a Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted for the stage. Saving Hanno, Miriam’s new book, is about a boy who comes on the Kindertransport and reflects on the grief and loss experienced by refugee children.

 

Photo © Denise Rawls

Denise Rawls

Denise is a writer, based in east London. She is an alumni of Spread the Word’s Development Programme, the first chapters of her novel in progress achieved ‘highly commended’ in the Writers & Artists Working-Class Writers’ Prize and she is contributing to Common Gossip, a working-class anthology. Outside of writing, she has been vocal about the lack of career progression across the civil service for black and brown women on BBC’s Women’s Hour and Sky News. As well as writing her novel, Marisol’s Baby, Denise works for the National Theatre, where she leads the organisation’s communications team.

 

Photo © Hannah Fields

Hannah Fields

Hannah Fields is a writer, editor and publisher from Texas. She founded the independent publishing company, Folkways Press, in 2020, and launched the company with an anthology, We Are Not Shadows, as its inaugural publication. The anthology selected writing from women of all ages and backgrounds and covers a wide range of topics – including issues of race, gender, sexuality, trauma, adversity, disability, and more. She has worked on various publications, from children’s books to award-winning magazines, along with various publishers in the US and UK.

 

Photo © Tom Denbigh

Tom Denbigh

Tom Denbigh lives in Bristol with an obscene number of books. He is the first Bristol Pride Poet Laureate and a BBC 1Extra Emerging Artist Talent Search winner. He has performed at the Royal Albert Hall and festivals around the UK, and has brought poetry to Brighton and London Prides. He is a producer at Milk Poetry and has facilitated writing workshops for groups of students from the UK and abroad (he is particularly proud of his work with queer young people). His debut collection …and then she ate him is out now with Burning Eye Books.

 

Rules

We want to keep this fairly simple and open – the only rules we have for entry are below.

  • There is no minimum (or maximum) age requirement for entry, but please bear in mind that if you’re under 18 you legally need to have parental or guardian consent to enter. Anyone can submit, but the entry is limited to ‘those who feel their voice was silenced in 2020’. While we don’t impose categories on this condition, we do ask why you think it applies to you.
  • The work must be your own, and we ask that you don’t submit it elsewhere in the mean time.
  • Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • Please only submit once – we will only consider your first entry if you enter again.
  • Entries must be received by 11.59PM on Friday 21st May 2021 to be considered.

Support the Project

If, like us, you think this is a really important project, we’d love your help! Please do help us to get the word out – on social media (#NewBeginningsPoetryComp) and in real life, as we’d love to reach people who aren’t on Facebook or Twitter, too!

This project is going to need money to get off the ground. If you’re able to, please pre-order the anthology or consider becoming a sponsor of the project – in return we’ll add your name to a special ‘thanks’ page in the book, and you can choose your level of support and receive various perks, including tote bags, deluxe editions, art prints and more. Sponsor →

Booksellers, librarians, teachers, all, can we send you a poster to put up? (While stocks last.) Drop us a line →

If you know someone who would be interested in the project, please share this page with them! Click here to email them →

Sponsor the Project

We estimate that this project will cost about £1,500 for a basic print run and the cash prizes. As a small independent press setting up in a time of crisis, this is a lot of money! If you’re able to, please consider becoming a sponsor – we’ll add your name to a special ‘thanks’ page in the book, and you can choose your level of support and receive various great perks from the options below. We will keep this progress bar updated as often as possible, to show how close we’re getting. Thank you in advance!

Target: £1,500 | Funded so far: £156.33 | Backers: 3

10.4%

 

Print & Digital
Supporter

£15 | 0 backers

Sponsor by £15 to receive:

  • The anthology in print once it’s published
  • The e-book edition too
  • Your name on a special ‘thanks’ page in the book

SPONSOR →

Print & Digital Plus Supporter

£20 | 0 backers

Sponsor by £20 to receive:

  • The anthology in print once it’s published
  • The e-book edition too
  • A set of postcards with the cover art
  • A Renard Press tote bag
  • Your name on a special ‘thanks’ page in the book

SPONSOR →

Deluxe
Supporter

£50 | 3 backers

Sponsor by £50 to receive:

  • A deluxe hardback edition of the anthology
  • A copy of the paperback too
  • The e-book edition too
  • A set of postcards with the cover art
  • A Renard Press tote bag
  • Your name on a special ‘thanks’ page in the book

SPONSOR →

Doubled Up and Arty
Supporter

£100 | 0 backers

Sponsor by £100 to receive:

  • Two deluxe hardback editions of the anthology
  • Two copies of the paperback too
  • The e-book edition too
  • A set of postcards with the cover art
  • A Renard Press tote bag
  • A limited edition art print of the cover artwork
  • Your name on a special ‘thanks’ page in the book

SPONSOR →


Enter

Are you ready to enter? Remember, you can only enter once, so please choose carefully, and check that you’ve followed the rules. When you’re ready, fill out the form below and hit Enter!

In as few words as possible, please explain why you feel your voice was silenced in 2020.
Max. 100 lines (or 750 words). Formatting will be stripped, so if bold or italics are important, use text to be italicised and text to be in bold.
(This field is confidential, and will be separated from your poem before consideration. We ask for this information to make sure that we achieve diversity in submission.)
(As above, this field is confidential, and will be separated from your poem before consideration. We ask for this information to make sure that we achieve diversity in submission.)
(If you're under 18, by entering you confirm you have parental/guardian consent.)
(We promise we won't spam you! Since you were interested in this competition, you'll probably be interested in our news – we write about once a month, on average, with information about our books and events.)