Forward Prizes FAQ

We are submitting ‘bound proofs’. How should these be bound?

We welcome bound proofs in a variety of different forms. Our main concern is that pages stay together throughout the long judging process! Some publishers create perfect bound mock-ups, but most use velo or comb bindings. We also accept spine bars (But please use the slimmest spine bar you can, we’ve had some manuscripts with loose spine bars come apart). Include the title, poet’s name and publisher on the cover of your proof. Please do not send manuscripts secured by paperclips, staples, treasury tags, filing clips, wallets or folders.

If you are sending bound proofs, remember to send us a copy of the finished book when it is produced. We will request more copies if the title is shortlisted.

Why is there a cap on the number of entries publishers can submit?

The Forward Prizes for Poetry rely on the careful reading and thoughtful deliberation of judges. So the judges can do this well, we need to keep submissions to a manageable level, allowing judges to consider each book with care. We think it fairer to ask editors to select which books to put forward, rather than sifting entries after they have been submitted.

Why are books by poets who have been shortlisted for a Forward Prize in the past 10 years not counted within the cap of titles that can be submitted per publisher?

Accepting submissions of books by shortlisted alumni, over and above publishers’ standard allocations of four books per prize, is a way of continuing to recognise shortlisted poets’ achievements beyond the year of their shortlisting.

We also want to ensure Forwards Prize judges see a wide-range of the best new poetry written today. When selecting which books to submit, we’ve found publishers often choose books by poets who have had Forward Prize success in the past. By not including these in the publisher’s standard allocation, we encourage publishers to use their allocation to submit books by poets who have not already been celebrated through the prizes.

Can judges call in books that have not been submitted?

Yes. If a judge comes across a book in their own reading, which they would like to consider for a Forward Prize, they may call this in. This will not affect the number of books that can be submitted by publishers.

My author has previously published a book of poems combined with another genre. Are they still eligible for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection?

This is considered on a case-by-case basis. Usually, if a poet has previously published a book that is more than half poetry, we will consider this to have been their first collection.

My poet has previously published a book of poems for children. Is their first poetry book for adult readers eligible for the Forward Prizes for Best First Collection?

This is considered on a case-by-case basis. If a poet has previously published a book specifically for children, we will accept their first poetry book for adults into the Forward Prizes for Best First Collection. Poetry books for young adults and older teens can be entered into the Forward Prizes and are therefore are considered to be a poet’s first collection.

We have a competition that will be judged and announced within the period 10 – 24 March 2018. The deadline for registering submissions on Submittable is 9 March, while The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem is open to poems from competitions with winner announcements 25 March 2017 – 24 March 2018. How can we enter these poems?

Let us know on Arrangements can be made, in these very specific circumstances, to include these submissions.