Forward Prizes for Poetry – Freelance Project Support


This is an opportunity for an efficient and highly organised project manager to support the Forward Arts Foundation’s creative and dynamic team in readying the submissions for the 2023 Forward Prizes juries.

This is a freelance contract that will help assess eligibility for the Forward Prizes. The ideal candidate will have a good knowledge of UK and ROI poetry publishing and will be detail oriented, organised, efficient and an excellent communicator.

This is a freelance contract role to be delivered flexibly, with a few required contact points with the Co-Executive Director and Head of Programmes throughout the contract period.

Please note: you will not be eligible for this role if you wish your own work be considered for the prizes. You can see eligibility guidelines here.

CLOSING DATE: 19 January 2023
INTERVIEW DATE: 30 January 2023
CONTRACT DATES: 1 February 2023 to 1 May 2023 (with bulk of work Feb to March)


  • Check that each entry submitted via Submittable meets all criteria as stated.
  • Communicate with publishers/submitters via Submittable when entries do not meet criteria (and keep appropriate records/keep team apprised).
  • Track hours spent checking carefully and report back to the team any challenges/tools that might make the process more efficient.
  • Advise on improvements for 2024.
  • Maintain good systems in collaboration with the Forward Arts Foundation team.
  • Additional duties as requested by the Head of Programmes and Co-Executive Director.


Essential skills & experience

  • Meticulous, efficient, highly organised.
  • Excellent knowledge of UK and ROI poetry (inc. publishing practice, poets, and publishers).
  • A demonstrated practical approach to solving problems and making decisions: ability to work on own initiative.
  • Ability to communicate, write and copy-edit to an outstanding standard.
  • Strong IT skills.

Desirable skills & experience

  • A love of poetry and its power to inspire, engage, and empower.
  • Experience with our submissions portal Submittable.


Hours: Flexible, though there will be some set-up and check-in meetings required during traditional working hours (we estimate it will take 10-15 days FTE across the contracted period)
Location: Remote
Salary: £15/hour
Contract type: freelance by written agreement


We particularly welcome applications from black and minority ethnic candidates, as they are under-represented within the arts. We believe poetry is for everyone, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marital status, maternity and pregnancy, race, religion, class and sexual orientation. Forward Arts Foundation is an equal opportunities employer.


Please submit your CV with a concise personal statement (no longer than 300 words), setting out your reasons for applying for this post and drawing attention to particularly relevant qualifications that match the profile and skills specification. Please do not include identifiable details such as your name, email or home address on your personal statement as applications will be reviewed anonymously.

Two referees’ names should be included but references will only be taken up in the event of your being selected for the post.

Please say how you found out about this job.

Applications should be addressed to Mónica Parle, and emailed to You should receive an email confirming receipt of your email application within 2 working days.


The first Forward Prizes were awarded in 1992, with the Best First Collection that year going to a young poet called Simon Armitage. He was joined on the stage by Thom Gunn (winner, Best Collection) and future Scottish Makar Jackie Kay (winner, Best Single Poem). Since then, the Prizes have lauded some of the most ground-breaking names in poetry including Seamus Heaney, Claudia Rankine, Kei Miller, Malika Booker, Danez Smith and Caleb Femi.

Over the last 30 years, Forward has broken down barriers in the poetry world, and we have become the most influential awards for new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Because we offer three distinct categories the prizes have successfully championed new voices (particularly in Best Single Poem and Best First Collection categories) and internationally renowned poets alike. We situate ourselves at the vanguard of new poetry, and we have a particular interest in supporting emerging poets to ensure fresh new voices reach wider, more diverse audiences.

Alongside the Prizes, our strong publishing track record (which includes the Poems of the Decade series, one of which is on the A-Level syllabus) and National Poetry Day enable us to reach around 123 million social media feeds per year. The Daily Telegraph has called the Prizes ‘the most coveted awards in British poetry’, and the Guardian has said our shortlists ‘address the world head-on’.

In 2022, 217 books and 192 single poems were pored over by judges, and we will announce the winner of the prizes this year at Contact, Manchester on the 28th of November 2022. (We’d welcome a plug to purchase tickets!) 2023 will see us award the first ever performance prize on a national awards stage (Best Single Poem – Performance), and our 2023 panel of judges will be chaired by Bernardine Evaristo.