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 | Support the Project | Longlist | Shortlist | Rules & Entry

Details

Competition opened on Monday 15th February; closed on Diversity Day (Friday 21st May)

Longlist announced on Tuesday 10th August

Shortlist announced on Monday 23rd August

Entry cost: free

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Poetry length: up to 100 lines or 750 words, only one (must be previously unpublished) poem per applicant.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

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: £1,254.53 | Backers: 31 | Sponsorship closed; we’re making up the difference!

83.64%

Print & Digital
Supporter

£15 | 11 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

Print & Digital Plus Supporter

£20 | 8 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

Deluxe
Supporter

£50 | 5 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

Doubled Up and Arty
Supporter

£100 | 7 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

Longlist

10/08/21: We’re delighted to say that the judges have compiled the longlist, which you can find below. Please help us to spread the news – click here to share on Twitter!

In alphabetical order:

  • ‘99%’ by Rumelia Licheva
  • ‘270,000,000’ by Melissa Sia
  • ‘A’ by Alex Banister-Fletcher
  • ‘A Condensed History of My Father’s Addiction’ by Karan Kapoor
  • ‘A Countryside Walk’ by Heather Rodgers
  • ‘A Morning’s Welcome’ by Anneliese Amoah
  • ‘A New Day’ by Laura Chouette
  • ‘A Poem for My Baby Sister as She Heads Off to University’ by L. Meadows
  • ‘Affection in the time of Covid’ by Lizzy Lister
  • ‘After Lockdown, I’m Quicker off the Mark’ by Catherine Edmunds
  • ‘Alarm in the CCU’ by Heinrich Beindorf
  • ‘Battlefield’ by Georgia Skelly
  • ‘Becoming’ by Simon Jackson
  • ‘Canal Street’ by Connie Louise Rigby
  • ‘Casual Eugenics’ by George Parker
  • ‘Chasing Rainbows’ by Lucy Beckley
  • ‘Collective Grief’ by Evie Groch
  • ‘Denouement’ by Lynne Taylor
  • ‘Dysphoria’ by Kayleigh Saunders
  • ‘Epiphany’ by Debanshi Chatterjee
  • ‘Four Weeks’ by Allie Bullivant
  • ‘Freedoms, Limitations and Lockdowns’ by Hannah Waddingham
  • ‘Gender’ by Ayshen Irfan
  • ‘Get in the Kitchen’ by Charlotte Boxley
  • ‘Getting a Voice Back’ by John Gallas
  • ‘God Only Knows the Blend’ by Ellie Herda-Grimwood
  • ‘Home School’ by Eve McGowan
  • ‘How To Breathe’ by David Bottomley
  • ‘Hug Me Tight’ by Mario Russo
  • ‘Hysterical Little Girls’ by Claire Louise Chamberlain
  • ‘I Am a Girl of Many Colours’ by Ebony Sallery
  • ‘I Will Leave this Year Behind’ by Rebekah Hulme
  • ‘I’m Sure it Wasn’t’ by Nicola Thornberry
  • ‘If I Were a Sculptor’ by Emily Cooke
  • ‘If Life Puts You Under Pressure (After Roger Robinson)’ by Rachel Burns
  • ‘If Someone Had Asked Me Why’ by Hui Chien Ngoi
  • ‘Insurrection’ by Kim Yaged
  • ‘It Is Within Us’ by Charlotte Amoret
  • ‘Just the Way You Are’ by Johanne Turner
  • ‘Labouring Alone’ by Abigail Pitt
  • ‘Let the People Sing!’ by Richard Westcott
  • ‘Lockdown 3’ by Katy Peters
  • ‘Lockdown Antidote. Colle Fiorito/Rome’ by Martin Bennett
  • ‘Metagenomics, Coding, and Spring: The Many Green Hues of Fearing the Unknown’ by Ieva Dapkevicius
  • ‘My Eventual Baby’ by Stephanie Lambourne
  • ‘Notre Dame’ by Magdalena Jurczuk
  • ‘Occupation: Housewife’ by Kai Leigh Harrison
  • ‘On Ampudia’s I Cristantemi in Three Acts, Barcelona 2020’ by Jenna Smith
  • ‘On the Arrival of My First Child’ by Marianne MacRae
  • ‘One Strong Day’ by Jennifer James
  • ‘Open Windows’ by Sabrina Chen
  • ‘Our Hearts Won’t Beat Forever’ by Muskaan Admani
  • ‘Pandemic’ by John Ling
  • ‘Pandemic Classroom’ by Karin Molde
  • ‘Pandemic Mums’ by Kathryn Knight
  • ‘Paradise’ by Codi Russell
  • ‘Petrosinella’ by Rose Cook
  • ‘Phoenix’ by H.D. Hurworth
  • ‘Pipe dreams’ by Brintha Yasodaran
  • ‘Postpartum’ by Jessica Johnson
  • ‘Pride’ by Charlotte Whiting
  • ‘Reality’ by Isabelle Linders
  • ‘Reclaim the Night’ by Rachael Ragland
  • ‘Room With a View’ by Jill Simpson
  • ‘School Shoes’ by Georgina Shaw
  • ‘Self Therapy’ by Jodine van Wyk
  • ‘Self-Love Song’ by Vi Nguyen
  • ‘Sertraline Resin’ by Anna Dallaire
  • ‘Sick Rapunzel’ by Charlotte Murray
  • ‘Sing the Song’ by Rebecca Miles
  • ‘Skin Just Like…’ by Lauryn Okerago
  • ‘Social Suicide’ by Emma Christian
  • ‘Still Ain’t In’ by Sharnta Bullard
  • ‘Stones’ by Christian Ward
  • ‘The Country Called New Beginning’ by Priyanka Kelly Burns
  • ‘The Day You Stop Surviving’ by Sophie Sparham
  • ‘The Gift’ by Voirrey Faragher
  • ‘The Girl with the Flute’ by Ruth Yates
  • ‘The Important Thing Is to Keep Going’ by Ilias Tsagas
  • ‘The Lights Are On… But I Fear There Is No One Home’ by Kevan Taplin
  • ‘The Middle, Lebanon, KS’ by Alison Jennings
  • ‘The Music’ by Lata Nobes
  • ‘The Overwhelm’ by Cath Nichols
  • ‘The Prevailing Wind’ by Anonymous
  • ‘The Race’ by Miebi Youdeowei
  • ‘The Song’ by Molly Evans
  • ‘The Upholding’ by David Hensley
  • ‘The Veil’ by Grace Palmer
  • ‘The Wild Green Sea’ by Jane Olive
  • ‘The Year I’ve Had’ by Dunja Lu
  • ‘There’s a Bird Flying Around the Mirror’ by Daisy Edwards
  • ‘This Ark’ by Charles Becker
  • ‘To a Friend’ by Ella Dane-Liebesny
  • ‘Today We Are Allowed to Hug Again’ by Rosie Gliddon
  • ‘Toxicity’ by Tadsyiayanie Govan
  • ‘Trapped’ by William Foster
  • ‘Treading Carefully’ by Nisha Bhakoo
  • ‘Tsunami’ by Aly Smith
  • ‘University Will Be Online Today’ by Martha Grogan
  • ‘Walk Away’ by Peter Hill
  • ‘When I come Out’ by Hannah Ross
  • ‘Window’ by Robyn Walsh
  • ‘Wings’ by Nichola Matthews
  • ‘Woman’ by Jasmine Kaur

Shortlist

23/08/21: We’re delighted to say that the judges have compiled the shortlist, which you can find below. Please help us to spread the news – click here to share on Twitter!

In alphabetical order:

  • ‘270,000,000’ by Melissa Sia
  • ‘A Countryside Walk’ by Heather Rodgers
  • ‘A New Day’ by Laura Chouette
  • ‘A Poem for My Baby Sister as She Heads Off to University’ by L. Meadows
  • ‘Affection in the time of Covid’ by Lizzy Lister
  • ‘After Lockdown, I’m Quicker off the Mark’ by Catherine Edmunds
  • ‘Alarm in the CCU’ by Heinrich Beindorf
  • ‘Becoming’ by Simon Jackson
  • ‘Chasing Rainbows’ by Lucy Beckley
  • ‘Denouement’ by Lynne Taylor
  • ‘Dysphoria’ by Kayleigh Saunders
  • ‘Four Weeks’ by Allie Bullivant
  • ‘Getting a Voice Back’ by John Gallas
  • ‘God Only Knows the Blend’ by Ellie Herda-Grimwood
  • ‘How To Breathe’ by David Bottomley
  • ‘I Am a Girl of Many Colours’ by Ebony Sallery
  • ‘If Someone Had Asked Me Why’ by Hui Chien Ngoi
  • ‘Lockdown Antidote. Colle Fiorito/Rome’ by Martin Bennett
  • ‘Metagenomics, Coding, and Spring: The Many Green Hues of Fearing the Unknown’ by Ieva Dapkevicius
  • ‘Occupation: Housewife’ by Kai Leigh Harrison
  • ‘On Ampudia’s I Cristantemi in Three Acts, Barcelona 2020’ by Jenna Smith
  • ‘One Strong Day’ by Jennifer James
  • ‘Open Windows’ by Sabrina Chen
  • ‘Pandemic Classroom’ by Karin Molde
  • ‘Pandemic Mums’ by Kathryn Knight
  • ‘Petrosinella’ by Rose Cook
  • ‘Postpartum’ by Jessica Johnson
  • ‘Pride’ by Charlotte Whiting
  • ‘Sertraline Resin’ by Anna Dallaire
  • ‘Sick Rapunzel’ by Charlotte Murray
  • ‘Stones’ by Christian Ward
  • ‘The Country Called New Beginning’ by Priyanka Kelly Burns
  • ‘The Day You Stop Surviving’ by Sophie Sparham
  • ‘The Gift’ by Voirrey Faragher
  • ‘The Race’ by Miebi Youdeowei
  • ‘The Song’ by Molly Evans
  • ‘The Upholding’ by David Hensley
  • ‘To a Friend’ by Ella Dane-Liebesny
  • ‘Today We Are Allowed to Hug Again’ by Rosie Gliddon
  • ‘Trapped’ by William Foster
  • ‘Treading Carefully’ by Nisha Bhakoo
  • ‘Tsunami’ by Aly Smith
  • ‘University Will Be Online Today’ by Martha Grogan
  • ‘Walk Away’ by Peter Hill
  • ‘When I come Out’ by Hannah Ross
  • ‘Wings’ by Nichola Matthews
  • ‘Woman’ by Jasmine Kaur

Enter

The competition is now closed. If you missed out, make sure you sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about future competitions.

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.