Saturday, 19 January 2013

Support the Homeless in International Poetry Competition to Win Book Publication

The cold weather is with us so do help support the three Cold Weather Shelters assisted by the Lumen and Camden poetry project. You could also win publication of your own short collection in our annual competition. There’s less than a month to go until the closing date of February 14th, but the sooner you enter, the sooner we can pass all money raised to the organisers of the Cold Weather Shelters.

This year’s judge is the acclaimed American poet Anne Stevenson, who has been a chair of judges for the T S Eliot prize. Andrew Motion is patron of this poetry project, which is essential to keep the Cold Weather Shelters going.

Previous winners are Bob Cooper (2012) and  Caroline Squire (2011), and their short collections An Apple Tree Spouts Philosophy  and The Ideal Overcoat are on sale, with all £3 of the cover price going to the same charity. Nobody involved in organising this competition takes any income from it.

The winner is chosen on the strength of just one poem, and as part of the prize they will be helped by a professional editor to complete a short paperback collection with 20 pages of poetry. They will also get an invitation to read in one of the popular Lumen and Camden venues, will receive 50 copies of their collection, and will be well promoted.

The entry fee has been kept deliberately low at £2.50 per poem (up to 40 lines) or £10 for six poems, so that everybody can enter. In its first two years the competition attracted around 1,000 entries each time, raising between £1,500 and £2,000 for the charity. There are also regular open mics and poetry performances in the Lumen and Camden venues where the homeless sleep during the cold weather, and where more money is raised.

These poetry events raise thousands of pounds each year, and every year we try to increase our support. The Cold Weather Shelter organisers say they couldn’t survive without the contribution made by poetry. The events and the competition are the brainchild of the poet Ruth O’Callaghan, who has been running the Lumen and Camden Poetry series of open mics and performances for six years.

The open mic events are held in the two venues where the homeless sleep in the Cold Weather Shelters. They are at 1 Buck Street, Camden, and 88 Tavistock Place, Kings Cross. A listing of events and information about the Lumen and Camden Poetry project is on

Details (Please share these if you can):
Judge: Anne Stevenson
Prize: Publication of short collection for one winner, 50 free copies, launch event and promotion.
Closing date February 14th 2013.
Poems up to 40 lines. Proceeds go to three London Homeless Cold Weather Shelters.
Entry fee: £2.50 per poem, 6 for £10.

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