CAFE WRITERS POETRY COMPETITION 2023 IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who contributed. There will be a Zoom event on the 11th March 2024 featuring the winning poets and their poems. 

Closing Date 30th November 2023 (Midnight GMT)

1st £1000
2nd £300
3rd £200
Five Commended Prizes of £50
Norfolk Prize £100
For the best poem from a permanent Norfolk resident not winning another prize.


£4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems & £2 per poem thereafter.

Concessions: We are offering the free entry of one poem to any UK resident with a household income of less than £16,000 for whom the cost of entering would be prohibitive. Your status to claim this will be taken on trust. See below for more details.

Sole Judge Martin Figura

Martin Figura’s collection and show Whistle were shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and won the 2013 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show.  Other prizes include the Poetry Society’s 2010 Hamish Canham Prize and runner up in the 2017 RSPB/Rialto Poetry Competition. Shed (Gatehouse Press) and Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine (Cinnamon Press) were both published in 2016 and a new edition of Whistle (Cinnamon Press) in 2018.  The spoken word show Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine, was shortlisted in the 2018 Saboteur Awards. He lives in Norwich with Helen Ivory and sciatica.  Together during Lockdown, they began hosting Live from The Butchery Zoom readings with leading guest poets, winning the Saboteur Best Regular Spoken Word Night 2021 Award.  In 2021 he was Salisbury NHS Writer in Residence, resulting in publication in The Guardian, inclusion on the Poetry Archive and a pamphlet My Name is Mercy with Fair Acre Press.  His next full collection The Remaining Men is due out with Cinnamon Press in 2024. The show Shed is returning to the stage in April 2024, three years after its Covid Postponement.

Photo: courtesy Dave Guttridge


Competition Rules

  1. Closing date for receipt of entries: 30th November 2023 (Midnight GMT).
  2. The maximum length for each poem is 40 lines excluding the title. Breaks between stanzas do not count towards the total.
  3. Café Writers committee members and their families are not eligible to enter.
  4. Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published on any website or recorded (poems read at open mics are OK as long as they were not recorded).
  5. We regret that postal entries cannot be returned.
  6. Entries must be in English.
  7. Please send your poems in a PDF document with each poem on a separate page.  There should be no identifying marks other than the title on either the page or in the document name.
  8. Font should be Times New Roman (or similar) 12 point. Pages should not be numbered, there should be no colour, pictures or borders.
  9. For postal entries download and print off the entry form here
  10. Online entries – Pay online using Paypal. Your covering email should include: your name and address, and the titles of your poems. The title of your email should be your name and Paypal transaction number eg John Keats 7PO79029E497164P. Send your poems to: cafewriterscompetition[at]gmail[dot]com
  11. Concessionary Entries: for poets on a low household income please send this as a separate entry, in a separate email, to any other entries you might send. Attach the document of this poem to an email marked with your name and ‘Concession’ in the subject box.
  12. No corrections can be made after receipt, nor fees refunded.
  13. Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but Café Writers will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning poems on its website and in competition publicity.
  14. The Norfolk Prize is awarded to a permanent Norfolk resident, for a poem not winning another prize.
  15. The judge’s decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.

Entry implies acceptance of all the rules. Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification.

Receipt: Cafe Writers auto acknowledges all email entries, if you don’t see acknowledgement please check your spam filter – adding our email address to your contacts should prevent this. Postal entries can enclose a stamped addressed postcard marked ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.

Results: Winners will be notified by email by 28th February 2024. Results will be published on our website, social media and mailing lists. If you would like to receive an email with the results before they are shared on Social Media, please sign up to our Newsletter by using this link:
The Zoom Prizewinning event will be @ Café Writers on 11th March 2024

Please pay for your entry using the drop-down box below. If you are able to pay for an extra poem to help fund a concessionary entry please choose the appropriate option in the drop down box.

1 poem £4.00 GBP
2 poems £8.00 GBP
3 poems £10.00 GBP
4 poems £12.00 GBP
5 poems £14.00 GBP
6 poems £16.00 GBP

You can add a donation at the checkout to if you would like to support Café Writers.

Pay here

Please click here to pay for your entry.