It’s an honor…

Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition 2021

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

In the midst of lockdown, I made a goal to focus on writing poems for children. Poetry has always been something that I enjoyed, but I usually opt for drafting a new picture book or revising a longer manuscript over writing a poem.

To kickstart my plan, I signed up for an online poetry workshop and in a short two-day course was immersed a whole new world of words. I was inspired to think about poetry differently. To play with different formats. To stop feeling like I don’t “get it” and just do it.

So, when the Southport Writers’ Circle announced their annual poetry competition earlier this year, I entered a funny little poem about an ogre and a witch that fall in love on Halloween. A few months later, I was thrilled to learn that A Halloween Love Story won the Catherine Fenerty Humour Prize. And I was further inspired by the lovely words from judge Ali Harwood…

We are encouraged to gallop through this amusing poem with its lively and consistent rhythm and rhyming couplets. It made me smile throughout. As we in the real world clamber our way somewhat clumsily and inconsistently out of lockdown, it’s refreshing to read a love story about two lost souls who, after many blunders and misfires, somehow find each other in their own fairytale chaos.

Chief Judge’s Report – Ali Harwood

The winning poems can be read on the competition results page.

It doesn’t feel strange anymore to take time to jot down a poem, a line or just an idea to play with later. I love having another way to communicate without the constraints of other formats. I’ve only scratched the surface of the vast craft of poetry, but I’m hooked.

Some of my favorite poetry contests for writers of children’s poems include:

I’d love to expand this list, so please do let me know about other competitions for poems for children.

Cheers to a year (and many more ahead, hopefully) of writing poetry!

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