The Keats-Shelley Prizes

Inaugurated in 1998 by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, The Keats-Shelley Writing Prize encourages people of all ages to respond to the work of the Romantics, by composing their own original poem or essay. Essayists can explore any aspect of the life or work of the Romantic writers. Poets respond to a theme which changes from one year to the next.

In 2020, this theme is 'Songbird', to mark bi-centenaries of PB Shelley’s To a Skylark and John Keats' Ode to a Nightingale.

Distinguished judges of the Prize have included two Poet Laureates (Sir Andrew Motion and Dame Carol Ann Duffy), the Makar of Scotland (Liz Lochhead), Stephen Fry, Dame Penelope Lively, Claire Tomalin, Professor Richard Holmes OBE, Tom Paulin, Miranda Seymour, Lord Gilmour, James Fenton, Jack Mapanje, A.N. Wilson, Colin Thubron CBE  and Salley Vickers.

For information about the Young Romantics Writing Prize, click here.

Keats-Shelley Prize

Scroll down to enter 2020’s Keats-Shelley Prizes. Or click here.

Please note. We have extended the deadline for submissions until 31st January 2020.

The theme of 2020’s Keats-Shelley Prize is Songbird.

This marks two landmark bicentenaries in Romantic poetry. The composition 200 years ago of PB Shelley’s To a Skylark and the publication in book form of John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale.

While these songbirds have achieved immortality through art, today’s reality is that the skylark and nightingale both face serious threat of extinction, lending grim ironies to Romanticised lines like ‘Thou wast not born for death immortal bird’ or ‘And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.’

Our hope for this year’s prize is that we can celebrate the glory of these songbirds, while participating in the wider political and artistic efforts to bring attention to ever-escalating climate crisis.

See 2020’s Keats-Shelley Prize poster here. Read more about 2020’s Prize here. For 2020’s Young Romantics Prize click here.

2020’s Prize Chair is Simon Barnes, award-winning sportswriter and acclaimed author of How To Be A Bad Birdwatcher, The Meaning of Birds, Epic, and most recently On the Marsh: A Year Surrounded by Wildness and Wet.

2020’s Keats-Shelley Prize Judges are the poets Professor Deryn Rees-Jones and Will Kemp, and Professors Sharon Ruston and Simon Bainbridge.

Total Prizes worth over £5000.

Find out more about the 2020 Prize and submit an entry

Keats-Shelley Prize

Winners Announced

More about the 2019 Prize

Keats-Shelley Prize

Winners Announced

More about the 2018 Prize

Keats-Shelley Prize

Winners Announced

More about the 2017 Prize