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Opportunities for Local Poets and Performers with Ilkley Literature Festival

ILF - Fringe Festival, c. Paul Floyd Blake

Applications are now open for Ilkley Literature Festival’s annual poetry competition and festival Fringe events and they are inviting local poets and artists to get involved. Run in partnership with The Walter Swan Trust, the Walter Swan Poetry Prize is for writers of poetry aged 18 and over. While the competition accepts entries nationally and internationally, it has built a reputation for uncovering home-grown writing talent with all last year’s winners coming from the Yorkshire region. Now in its sixth year, the prize was established in memory of the late writer Walter Swan and is now open for entries for 2021. The prize will be judged by the Festival’s 2021 Poet in Residence. First, second and third place will receive £200, £100 and £75 respectively, and the winner will also receive a one-to-one feedback session with the 2021 Poet in Residence. For no additional fee, entrants of the Walter Swan Poetry Prize aged 18 to 25 will automatically be considered for the subcategory prize for young adult writers in addition to the main prize. The prize will be judged by the 2021 Apprentice Poet in Residence. First, second and third place will receive £100, £75 and £50 respectively. The names of the judges will be announced in July. All six winning poems will be announced in a special online event on National Poetry Day, Thursday 7 October 2021. All winners will be invited to read their entries within the event. The entry fee is £6 per poem for writers aged over 25 years or £3 per poem for writers aged 18-25. All poems should respond to the prompt ‘The Return’. The closing date for Poetry Prize entries is 31 July 2021, 11.30pm. The Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe is back for 2021 with a fresh format. Fringe events will take place this summer with six evenings of outdoor performances spanning July and August 2021 in the Ilkley Manor House courtyard. The Fringe is a showcase for the talents of local writers, performers, artists and community groups, with both newcomers and veterans of past Fringe Festivals equally welcome. Applications to take part are invited from anyone from, or with strong links to, the Yorkshire region and are open to all kinds of performance ideas, whether dance, acoustic music, storytelling, improv, comedy, poetry, sound art or more. The closing date for applications is Friday 4 June, 12pm.

For more information about 2021 Walter Swan Poetry Prize and the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe and to apply for each of them, visit:


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