Forward Prizes for Poetry

Welcome to the Forward Prizes for Poetry

The Forward Prizes for Poetry honour excellence in contemporary poetry published in UK and Ireland. There are three prizes: Best Collection (£10,000) and Best First Collection (£5,000) consider books of poetry, while Best Single Poem (£1,000) seeks the best poem from magazines and competitions.

One of the highlights of the literary calendar, the Forward Prizes for Poetry bring shortlisted poets together for a public ceremony with readings. This will take place in Southbank Centre, London on Sunday 25 October. In the meantime, you can watch Forward Prizes Ceremony 2019 highlights on our website.

Poems from the shortlisted and highly commended books are published in the annual Forward Book of Poetry creating an invaluable overview for poetry lovers and a perfect introduction for new poetry readers.

The Forward Prizes for Poetry 2020 are now open

We invite submissions from poetry editors and publishers. Find out more by reading our entry guidelines.

Time Line

  Submissions open   27 Jan
  Submissions close   9 March
  Shortlist Announced   June
  Forward Book of Poetry
  5 September
  Winners announced
Southbank Centre, London
  25 October


portraits of the judges Leaf Arbuthnot, Kim Moore, Alexandra Harris, Roger Robinson, David Wheatley
Leaf Arbuthnot, Kim Moore, Alexandra Harris (chair), Roger Robinson, David Wheatley
image credits: Alex Harris – Vikki Beddoes

Writer, critic and social historian Alexandra Harris will chair the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2020 judging panel. She is joined by poets Kim Moore, Roger Robinson and David Wheatley, and journalist Leaf Arbuthnot. Read more about the judges.


Since it’s inception in 1992, the Forward Prizes for Poetry have been supported by Bookmark, the global content marketing and communications agency. It is with their unstinting support that we have been able to shortlist 285 poets over the past 28 years, championed excellence in poetry and reached thousands of school students with Forward Prize Books and activities.

The Forward Prizes are also grateful to the literary estate of the late Felix Dennis, the Esmée Fairburn Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation and Arts Council England.