My Companion, My Best Friend

The East Riding Festival of Words poetry competition is now open for entries. This year's theme is 'My companion, my best friend'. Entries will be judged by a panel of published Yorkshire poets, led by James Nash. Poems are submitted anonymously, so each entry is judged on its own merits. Winners will be invited to read their poems at a special event.

Young Poets Prize

If you can say the words, you can write the words. Express yourself through poetry - whatever shape or form - and you could win £75! The competition is open to young people in both primary and secondary school, with four prizes for primary and four for secondary.


Adults (£4 per entry)

Collection HQ Prize: £500

Philip Larkin Society Prize: £250

East Riding Gold: £200

East Riding Silver: £150

School age children (Free to enter)

East Riding Primary 1st Prize: £75

East Riding Primary 2nd Prize: £50

East Riding Secondary 1st Prize: £75

East Riding Secondary 2nd Prize: £50

Prison Competition Entry (Free to enter)

Prison 1st Prize: £100 voucher

There will be also be six highly commended prizes of £25 to two entries in the adult category, and two each in the primary and secondary age children category. The judging panel includes James Nash, Wendy Pratt, Matthew Hedley Stoppard

and James Booth from the Philip Larkin Society

How to enter

Currently, entries can only be received online, however when libraries reopen, there will be an option to submit entries in person. Your poem should be no more than 45 lines, on one side of A4 paper. There are three categories, adults, primary school aged children (4 years to 10 years) and secondary school aged children (11 years to 16 years) All entries must be submitted and paid for by Saturday, 28 November 2020 at 11.59pm. Winners will be notified by phone by Wednesday, 6 January 2021.

Enter Online

Adults (17 years and over) can enter online in three steps:

  • Pay your £4 entry fee using our payment system and choose to 'leave tickets at the box office' (there will be no physical ticket).
  • Check your email for your confirmation and reference number.
  • Email with your name, contact number, address, the title of your poem you are submitting and the reference number for your entry fee payment. Attach your poem as a word document or in the body of the email.

A confirmation email will be sent to let you know your entry has been received.

School aged children can enter for free by emailing their poem to with name, contact number, address, poem title and age category.


  1. Each poem must be no longer than 45 lines and follow the theme of 'My Friend, My Companion'.
  2. Each poem must be typed or clearly written on one side of A4 paper.
  3. Poems must be original work of the competitor, in English, and must not have been published, broadcast or have won a competition prize.
  4. No alterations can be made to a poem once it has been submitted.
  5. The entrant may submit an unlimited number of poems, each to be accompanied by the entry fee (if applicable).
  6. The poem(s) and payment should be submitted with the entry form.
  7. The name of the entrant must not appear on the poem itself.
  8. Entries cannot be returned, so please keep a copy.
  9. The decision of the judge is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  10. Results will be published on the Festival of Words website
  11. Prize winners will be notified by Wednesday, 6 January 2021. Copyright remains with the author, but the organisers reserve the right to publish the winning poems online or in print for one year after the closing date of the competition (Saturday, 28 November 2020).
  12. The organisers reserve the right to alter details of the competition if necessary.
  13. All entries must be received by Saturday, 28 November 2020.

'My Mind, My Thoughts' Winners

The 2019 Festival of Words poetry competition winners were announced on the 25 January 2019, and winning entries are available to read online. Entries were judged by a panel of published Yorkshire poets, led by James Nash.