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Guernsey Literary Festival

Sponsored by

Specsavers

Supported by

Guernsey Arts

Guernsey 
International Poetry
 Competition 2025

Judged by Imtiaz Dharkar
Entries closed

Your poem could be on show in 2025. The Guernsey Literary Festival, together with Guernsey Arts, presents a competition that could deliver our work to thousands of readers.

Winning entries are displayed in wo phases: 21 bus poems will be chosen, and the top 9 of these will take part in a second, larger exhibition, first at Guernsey Airport, then all over the island.

Entries must be no longer than 14 lines and must fit on a single A4 page.

Our Judge for 2025: Imtiaz Dharkar

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and video film maker, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, Chancellor of Newcastle University since 2020. Her seven collections, all published by Bloodaxe Books, include Over the Moon and the latest, Shadow Reader. Her poems have featured on BBC radio, television, the London Underground, Glasgow billboards and Mumbai buses. She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings and scripts and directs video films, many of them for non-government organisations working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children in India.

Poetry winners’ reading at the Guernsey Literary Festival

Guernsey is an exceptional and inspiring location for a literary festival with an abundance of natural beauty and a thriving Arts scene.  The 2025 Guernsey Literary Festival takes place from 25th April – 4th May 2025

The festival offers a varied and energetic celebration of literature with something for everyone – from aspiring writers to families looking for a fun day out. For more information on events in 2025 visit guernseyliteraryfestival.com.

We invite you to join us for the International Poetry Competition Winners’ Reading on Friday 2nd May 2025.

Categories & prizes

Three finalists in each category, and a further 12 poems for the bus exhibition will be selected by the judge. The judge’s decision is final.

Poems on the Move Exhibition 2025

Nine finalists, three from each category.

Poems on the Buses Exhibition 2025

All nine finalists, and a further 12 poems from all categories.

Open Poetry

Ages 18 and over*

Entries £4 per poem
or enter 3 poems for £10

1st prize £1000
2nd place £500
3rd place £250

Channel Islands’ 
Poetry

Ages 18 and over, born

or resident* in the
Channel Islands

Entries £4 per poem
or enter 3 poems for £10

1st prize £250
2nd place £50
3rd place £30

Young People’s 
Poetry

Aged 11-17*
Free Entry

1st prize £250
2nd place £50
3rd place £30

*Age and resident on 31st January 2025. †Poems submitted in the Channel Islands and Young People’s category are also automatically entered into the Open category.

Previous competitions

The Guernsey Literary Festival has organised the International Poetry Competition since 2014. Previous judges have included Candy Neubert, Andrew Motion, Ian McMillan, Gwyneth Lewis, Daljit Nagra, Maura Dooley, Kate Clanchy, Simon Armitage, Michael Symmons Roberts, Jackie Kay and Paul Muldoon.

Poems on the Move exhibitions have featured winning poems on Guernsey buses and on Aurigny aircraft, at Guernsey Airport and Ferry Terminal, the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, the Courts of Guernsey and Castle Cornet. Other venues have included libraries and museums, churches and local schools.

2024 Winners

Judged by Paul Muldoon

Open Poetry

  1. 1st

    CONCH - Iona Roisin

    Read poem
  2. 2nd

    SWIMMING WITH HORSES - Nicholas Hogg

    Read poem
  3. 3rd

    Bewick - Jo Haslam

    Read poem

Channel Islands’ Poetry

  1. 1st

    After Guernésiais - Theodore Cross

    Read poem
  2. 2nd

    Goit - Shaun Shackleton

    Read poem

Young People’s Poetry

  1. 1st

    Remember - Tomos Wynne

    Read poem
  2. 2nd

    A Love Letter - Beth Parker

    Read poem

Poems on the Buses Exhibition

  1. Bus

    Basho at Dawn - Tom Bryan

    Read poem
  2. Bus

    Carboniferous Limestone - Michael Powell

    Read poem
  3. Bus

    Gaslight - John Atkinson

    Read poem
  4. Bus

    Hat - Andy Jackson

    Read poem
  5. Bus

    I tried to write a break-up poem
    but I wrote this instead - Tom Bailey

    Read poem
  6. Bus

    Low tide - Lynda Plater

    Read poem
  7. Bus

    Sir Lowry’s Pass - Sarah Frost

    Read poem
  8. Bus

    The Electrician - Vanessa Lampert

    Read poem
  9. Bus

    The Geese Return - Alison Stark

    Read poem
  10. Bus

    The Optimism Principle - Ken Evans

    Read poem
  11. Bus

    The sparrowhawk - Margaret Wilmot

    Read poem
  12. Bus

    THE SWIM - Sally Festing

    Read poem
  13. Bus

    Things i can finally afford - AV Bridgwood

    Read poem
  14. Bus

    When the Knacker Man Visits the Barn - Christina Thatcher

    Read poem

Previous winners