Winchester Poetry Festival renames Winchester Poetry Prize’s ‘Hampshire Prize’ to honour local poet

Winchester Poetry Festival renames Winchester Poetry Prize’s ‘Hampshire Prize’ to honour local poet

Winchester Poetry Festival has launched its globally recognised Winchester Poetry Prize for the ninth year – renaming the ‘Hampshire Prize’ as the ‘Kathryn Bevis Prize’.

The Winchester Poetry Prize receives around 2000 original and unpublished poems every year from all over the world. The competition judge this year is the poet Clare Shaw, who will choose the three poems they deem the best, as the winners. Poems can be on any subject, and in any form or style, but must be no more than 40 lines, and written in English. The first prize is £1000. 

In 2023, more than 15% of entries received were from poets that reside in Hampshire. The newly named ‘Kathryn Bevis Prize’ will celebrate the best poem written by a poet based in Hampshire, whilst recognising Kathryn Bevis as a significant poetic voice emerging from our county in recent years. The winning poem will be chosen by competition judge Clare Shaw (pictured top).

Chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, Jane Bryant, says: Winchester Poetry Festival feels honoured  to rename the Hampshire Prize, the Kathryn Bevis Prize. Kathryn is now a nationally recognised, award-winning poet who not only brings her success as a poet because of the quality and depth of her writing and the expressive insights that this gives, but she also brings a record of commitment to growing and developing poets and poetry writing and expression in others.  A former Hampshire Poet, she has worked with many diverse communities including with those experiencing challenges in their lives, and with emerging poets, offering wisdom, expertise and most importantly recognising and growing their potential.  We are really delighted to honour her work in this way”.

The winner of the newly named Kathryn Bevis Prize will receive a year’s worth of tuition from The Writing School alongside a cash prize of £150.

Ewan Monaghan of The Writing School comments: Kathryn has been at the heart of the poetry community in Hampshire for years and has brought poetry to many new writers both in the classroom and in less traditional educational settings, such as her work with prisons.  She has ceaselessly encouraged the creativity of others in Hampshire and Winchester has a huge colony of poets who are indebted to her.  More than that though, Kathryn has risen to become one of the UK’s finest contemporary poets. ‘Flamingo’ and ‘The Butterfly House’ demonstrate her incredible skill, musicality and imagination through poems on animals, love, memory and family.  Lately her work has also become an inspiration and consolation to those living with illness. Her poems dealing with her own cancer will become long-lived part of the English canon and are some of the most humane and beautiful reflections on mortality written in this century.  For those reasons we are utterly delighted to support the renaming of the Hampshire Prize, to recognise Kathryn’s incredible body of work on and off the page.”

The Winchester Poetry Prize 2024 winners will be announced live at a prize-giving ceremony as part of Winchester Poetry Day on Saturday 5th October at The ARC, Winchester. All longlisted poems will be read live, and published in a commemorative anthology available to purchase on the day. 

Winchester Poetry Prize is an annual competition that attracts writers of all abilities from all over the world. Entry is £6 for the first poem, and £5 for subsequent poems. There is a pay-it-forward scheme originally set up by 2020’s competition winner, Lewis Buxton. This enables those who can afford to enter the competition to support emerging poets who cannot. Details of how you can contribute to, or benefit from, this scheme can be found here:

The competition closes at 23:59 on 31 July 2024. Poems can be submitted by email or by post. 

Further details, including guidelines and how to enter can be found on the website: