Creative Manchester Poetry Competition 2020

Creative Manchester, in partnership with the Centre for New Writing, is running a climate-themed micropoetry competition. Poems will be judged by a panel of professional poets, including esteemed poet and Chancellor of the University, Lemn Sissay.

From 21 March 2020 to 21 June 2020

Partners: Centre for New Writing

‘Poetry is a piece of alchemy, a piece of magic, and it’s available to all of us’
Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay
Lemn Sissay


The subject of our 2020 competition is climate, and we open for submissions on World Poetry Day, 21 March 2020.

You have until the longest day of the year, 21 June 2020, to submit your short poems.


What does climate mean to you? What do you mean to your climate? Maybe you are interested in the weather, climate change, the environment, or possibly the political climate?

Express your thoughts in 280 characters and tweet it with the hashtag #micropoem20.


Everyone is encouraged to participate, you do not need to be associated with the University. One submission per participant.

How to Enter

To enter the competition all you need to do is tweet your micropoem through Twitter, including the hashtag #micropoem20. 

To make the competition more accessible, you can also email your micropoem to:

Please note that the same competition rules apply for micropoems submitted via email, which should be themed around ‘Climate’ and kept to a maximum of 280 characters (including spaces).


First Place: £500

Two Runners up: £250 each

The winners will also be awarded 10 pairs of tickets for future literature events and a selection of signed books.

Authors of the top three micropoems will be invited to attend an Awards / Celebration event on 3 September 2020 at Manchester Museum and to read their poem (should they wish to), along with published poets. 


Submissions will be accepted from Saturday 21 March until midnight on Sunday 21 June, 2020.


Micropoems must be themed as stated. Micropoems that do not have the hashtag #micropoem20 and/or are submitted outside the competition period (21 March – 21 June) will not be considered.

Judging panel

  • Lemn Sissay, Chancellor of the University, poet of the 2012 Olympics
  • Professor John McAuliffe, Co-Director of The Centre for New Writing
  • Maryam Hessavi, Manchester-based poet, one of the Ledbury Emerging Critics

Terms and Conditions (“Rules”)


1.    The Creative Manchester Poetry Competition 2020 (the "Competition") is organised by The University of Manchester ("UoM").

2.    The Competition is open to anybody. You do not need to be associated to The University of Manchester to enter the competition.  

3.    Members of the judging panel or organising committee for the Competition are not eligible to enter

4.    The deadline for entries is midnight (UK time) on Sunday, 21 June 2020. Entries received after this deadline will not be considered for the Competition. Entrants are advised not to leave submission until the last minute in case of technical difficulties.

5.    One submission will be accepted per person. In the event that multiple entries are submitted, only the first entry will be judged.

6.    Entries will be accepted online via Twitter. Submission via email will also be accepted to to encourage participation for those without access to twitter.

  1. Entries should have no more than 280 characters (including spaces) in keeping with the limits set by Twitter. This must include the competition hashtag #micropoem20
  2. All poems submitted must be on the theme of ‘Climate’ and participants are invited to consider what climate means to them in its broadest sense. This could be linked to the environment, weather, climate change, the political climate or the climate of one’s own life, body, home, etc. The judges will decide if the poem is relevant to the theme and will not consider poems which are deemed not relevant. Their decision is final.

9.    The poem must be the entrant's own original writing, and must not have been published in print or have been broadcast before the date of entry, or be so before 24 July 2020

10. A poem which has been published on public websites, blogs or social media sites can be submitted, but must be taken down before the date of entry and must not be uploaded again before 24 July 2020. A poem that has been circulated via, or uploaded to, closed forums (e.g. for the purposes of workshopping on writing courses) can be submitted. Simultaneous submissions to other competitions and for publication are permitted, provided the work is not published elsewhere before 24 July 2020. If an entrant is found to have breached Rules 9 or 10, their entry will be disqualified.

11. All entries must be typed or word-processed and written in English. Entrants should not include illustrations or artwork. Beyond these stipulations, presentation (e.g. font and spacing) is at the entrant’s discretion.

12. Translations into English of work written in other languages can be accepted, provided that the source text is the entrant's own original work and has not been published before (in line with Rules 9 and 10 above).

13.  All entries will be assigned an ID number and made anonymous upon receipt. Judges will not be privy to entrants' names during the reading and judging processes. Names will be reattributed to entries only after the short list and winners have been decided.

  1. Amendments, corrections and substitutions cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted (via Twitter or via email); poems cannot be amended, corrected or substituted. No correspondence or discussion about amendments corrections or substitutions, will be entered into.

15.  By entering the Competition, the entrant understands and agrees that they are bound by the Rules. UoM reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the entrant has breached any of these Rules.

16.  UoM will act in accordance with current UK data protection legislation in relation to your personal data.

  1. The Competition and Rules will be governed by English Law and any dispute will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.

18. UoM reserves the right to change any aspect of the Rules at such notice. Such changes will be posted on the UoM Competition website as soon as is practicable.

19. Submission of an entry will be deemed to imply unqualified acceptance of the Competition's Rules. In the event of any dispute regarding these Rules or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of UoM shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.

Judging and selection

  1. A judging panel of practising writers will select a short-list of entries and, from that list, select the winners. The judges' decisions are final, and no correspondence about their decisions will be entered into.

21. UoM reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.

22. The judges reserve the right not to award the prizes, if, in their opinion, such action is justified for any reason.

23. Subject to Rule 23, winners will be notified by 1 August 2020. A prize will be awarded for the winner. Two second place prizes will also be awarded. At the discretion of the judges, highly commended entries may also be selected.

Copyright and Permissions

  1. The entrant will retain the copyright ownership of the poem they submit to the Competition. However, by submitting the poem to the Competition, the entrant is deemed to grant to UoM a non-exclusive worldwide licence over the poem on a continuous basis and agrees that UoM may reproduce it, in full or abridged form, in or on: (a) printed UoM publications and journals; (b) UoM websites, online resources and other electronic forms; (c) public displays, including exhibitions and murals in UoM buildings and elsewhere; and (d) any other media. There will be no time limit on use of the entrant’s poem by UoM.
  2. The entrant agrees that the UoM has the right to use their full name and identity  for the purpose of identifying them as the author of their poem.
  3. The entrant agrees that, if they are a competition winner, they will grant permission to the UoM to photograph them while in or on the UoM premises and that such photographs may be used for the same purposes as outlined in Rule 25.


28. The Creative Manchester Poetry Prize 2020 will award the following prizes: One overall winner will be selected from all entries along with 2 runners up. They will receive the following prizes:
Winner: £500 in either cash or vouchers (subject to agreement with finance about the best method)
Runners up: £250 each in either cash or vouchers (subject to agreement with finance about the best method)
Highly Commended entries: At the discretion of the judges, highly commended entries may also be selected and these will receive 2 tickets to one of the Centre for New Writing’s ‘Complete Works’ events (maximum of 10 pairs of tickets issued)


1.    Queries should be directed to Creative Manchester at