Inaugurated in 1998 by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, The Keats-Shelley Writing Prize encourages poets and essayists of all ages to respond to the work of the Romantics. Prize Judges have included Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Stephen Fry, Liz Lochhead, Professor Richard Holmes, Dame Penelope Lively, Tom Paulin, Claire Tomalin, Jack Mapanje, and Simon Barnes. 2022’s Prize Judge is Fiona Sampson.

Keats-Shelley Prize 2022


We are thrilled to announce the Longlists of 2022’s Keats-Shelley Essay and Poetry Prizes. Congratulations to everyone who made it to this stage.

Enormous thanks to our amazing Judging Panels: Professor Deryn Rees-Jones and Will Kemp for the Poetry Prize; Professor Sharon Ruston and Professor Simon Bainbridge for the Essay Prize.

The Keats-Shelley Shortlists will be revealed towards the end of August, ahead of 2022’s Prize Chair Fiona Sampson announcing the winners in September.

You can also visit our Google Earth Elegy World Map which we will continue to update and expand over the summer.

Email questions regarding the 2022 Prize to:

Poetry Longlist

Sue Norton, A Nocturne for Ukraine cloud_downloadRead Poem
Stuart Pickford, After cloud_downloadRead Poem
Alison Wood, Bring Back Sundays cloud_downloadRead Poem
Caleb Parkin, Burying the Sky cloud_downloadRead Poem
Penny Boxall, Care Instructions cloud_downloadRead Poem
Susan Holland, December Moth outside a care home window cloud_downloadRead Poem
Caroline Smith, Ellen Maud Smith cloud_downloadRead Poem
Susan Shepherd, Lapwings cloud_downloadRead Poem
Sally Smith, Life on Mars cloud_downloadRead Poem
Carolyn Peck, Lost cloud_downloadRead Poem
Elsa Braekkan Payne, Mansfield and Chekhov - One Might be Anywhere cloud_downloadRead Poem
Elsa Braekkan Payne, Naming cloud_downloadRead Poem
Emily Barker, That time I was Aretha Franklin’s niece cloud_downloadRead Poem
Ned Balbo, The Wolves of Chernobyl cloud_downloadRead Poem
Caleb Parkin, Two Tablespoonfuls cloud_downloadRead Poem
Jennifer Harrison, Undaunted cloud_downloadRead Poem
Liz Adams, writing you cloud_downloadRead Poem

Essay Longlist

Zoran Varga, 'Afterlives: Shelley’s transformative rhetoric in Queen Mab note 17' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Lily Buchan, 'Dread and Disquietude in Part III of Shelley’s Mont Blanc' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Sofia Karanikola, 'Experiencing nightmare in “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Kaushik Tekur Venkata, 'Gone With the (West) Wind: Shelley, Apostrophe, and Inept Interpellation' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Elena Bonacini, 'Keats’s self-transformation as a “Physician to All Men”' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Gargi Upmanyu, 'Romanticism, Nature and Ecology ' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Colleen English , '“Soft Embalmer of the Still Midnight”: Keats and the Science of Embalming ' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Elena Bonacini, 'Trompe l’oeil illusion in Keats and Shakespeare' cloud_downloadRead Essay
Emily Lenaghan, 'The interstitial company of literary remains in John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale   ' cloud_downloadRead Essay

Submissions - now closed

2022’s Keats-Shelley Poetry and Essay Prize is now closed for submissions. We are no longer able to accept any more entries.

The Longlists of the Keats-Shelley Prizes will be announced on 3rd August. The Shortlists will be announced later the same month.

A huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard on their poems and essays, which are now being sent to our amazing panel of judges.

The winners will be announced by Fiona Sampson in September.

In the meantime, please visit our Google Earth Elegy World Map which we will continue to update and expand over the summer.

Email questions regarding the 2022 Prize to:

Poetry Prize (closed to submissions)

Poets are asked to write on 2022’s Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize Theme of ‘ELEGY’.

This commemorates two bicentenaries: the death of Percy Bysshe Shelley on 8th June 1822 and the composition of Adonais, Shelley’s elegy for John Keats, a year earlier in 1821.

Poets can interpret ‘Elegy’ freely. Poems can be serious or comic, avant garde or traditional. They can be formal elegies or elegiac, but the Judges advise that works drifting too far from the theme will not be considered.

Poetry judge Deryn Rees-Jones writes: ‘For me good poems adhere to no rules…except the one necessary to their own creation. Often a poem will stand out because of its precision and its ability to harness and also liberate a particular kind of energy. The poem will be able to say something that only it can say.’


Poems should be:

  • no more than 30 lines in length.
  • fit onto a single A4 page.

Entries must be original. Plagiarism will not be accepted. The poem must not have been published previously, either in print or online or in any other media, nor previously submitted to us.

Essay Prize (closed to submissions)

Essays may be on any aspect of the writing and/or lives of the Romantics and their circles.

Essay Judge Professor Sharon Ruston writes: ‘I want to read a well-organised, lively, and well-expressed essay. It should be arguing a point and offer persuasive evidence in its case. We are also looking for someone who has a deep and creative interest in Keats, Shelley, or their circle.’


Essays should be no more than 3,000 words including quotations.

Entries must be original works. Plagiarism will not be accepted. All sources must be acknowledged. They must not have been published previously, either in print or online or in any other media, nor previously submitted to us.


  • Chair of Judges

    Fiona Sampson

    Fiona Sampson is a writer and poet. Published in thirty-eight languages, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Wordsworth Trust, has published twenty-nine books and has received an MBE for Services to Literature.

    She’s served on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature and is Trustee of the Royal Literary Fund; other honours include the Newdigate Prize, Cholmondeley Prize, and various awards from the Arts Councils of England and of Wales, Society of Authors, Poetry Book Society and AHRC, and Book of the Year selections. She recently received the 2019 Naim Frashëri Laureateship, the 2020 European Lyric Atlas Prize, and, for Come Down, Wales Poetry Book of the Year 2021.

    Sampson’s studies of writing process include Beyond the Lyric and Lyric Cousins: Poetry and Musical Form. She edited Percy Bysshe Shelley (Faber). A critic, librettist and literary translator, she was editor of Poetry Review 2005-12 and has served internationally on the boards of publishing houses and literary NGOs, and on literary juries.

    Sampson’s writing about place including Limestone Country, a Guardian Book of the Year 2017. Her internationally acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley (2018) was finalist for the Biographers’ Club first biography prize, and Two-Way Mirror: The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (2021), a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Washington Post and Prospect Book of the Year 2021, longlisted for the 2022 PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.

  • Poetry Judges

    Professor Deryn Rees-Jones

    Professor Deryn Rees-Jones was born in Liverpool with family links to North Wales, where she later studied English at the University of Bangor, before completing a literature PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Liverpool.

    She won an Eric Gregory award in 1993 and ‘The Memory Tray’ (Seren, 1995) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her other works are ‘Signs Round a Dead Body’ (Seren, 1998), ‘Quiver’ (Seren, 2004), and a groundbreaking critical study of twentieth-century women’s poetry, ‘Consorting with Angels’ (Bloodaxe, 2005), which was published alongside her accompanying anthology ‘Modern Women Poets’ (Bloodaxe, 2005). Deryn’s selected poems, ‘What It’s Like to Be Alive’, was published in 2016 and is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.

    In 2004 Deryn was named as one of Mslexia’s ‘top ten’ women poets of the decade, as well as being chosen as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets.

    Deryn has considerable experience as a poetry judge, including the National Poetry Competition, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Costa Prize (Poetry) and every two years chair the judging panel for the English Association’s Michael Murphy Poetry Prize for a best first collection of poetry.

    Deryn’s most recent book is Paula Rego: The Art of Story, the first full-length survey of one of the most distinctive and important modern artists.

    Visit Deryn’s website here.

    Her profile page at the University of Liverpool is here.

  • Will Kemp

    Will Kemp has won the Keats-Shelley Prize (2016), the Cinnamon Pamphlet Competition (2014), the Debut Collection Award (2010), the Envoi International (2010) and the Cinnamon Short Story Award (2015). He has also been runner-up in the Keats-Shelley Prize (2013) and the Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition (2011), and highly commended in other competitions, including the Bridport and the Plough. Will regards a commendation in the Keats-Shelley Prize 2006 as the turning point in his writing career since it spurred him on during a time of self-doubt.

    Cinnamon Press has published his collections to date, Nocturnes (2011), Lowland (2013) and The Painters Who Studied Clouds (2016), as well as his award-winning pamphlet, The Missing Girl (2015). His poems have been published in various journals, including: Ambit, Envoi, The Guardian, The Interpreter’s House, Iota, Magma, The North, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, Other Poetry, Poetry News, Poetry Scotland, The Rialto, The Times and Smith’s Knoll.

  • Essay Judges

    Professor Sharon Ruston

    Professor Sharon Ruston is a long-standing Judge of the Prize essays. She is Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster, having previously taught at Bangor, Keele and Salford.

    Her research specialism concerns the relations between the literature, science and medicine of the Romantic period, 1780-1820. Her first book, Shelley and Vitality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), explored the medical and scientific contexts which inform Shelley’s concept of vitality in his major poetry. Since then, she has worked on Mary Wollstonecraft’s interest in natural history, William Godwin’s interest in mesmerism, and Humphry Davy’s writings on the sublime. These form chapters of her most recent book, Creating Romanticism: Case Studies in the Literature, Science, and Medicine of the 1790s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

    In 2020, Sharon published (with Tim Fulford) the four volume Collected Letters of Sir Humphry Davy and his Circle with Oxford University Press. Read a Q&A with Sharon and Professor Fulford at the BARS Blog.

    Visit Sharon’s profile page at the University of Lancaster here.

  • Professor Simon Bainbridge

    Professor Simon Bainbridge is a long-standing Judge of the Prize essays. He teaches and writes at the University of Lancaster.

    His main research interest is in the relationship between the writing of the Romantic period and its historical context. He is the author of Napoleon and English Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (Oxford University Press, 2003) and the editor of Romanticism: A Sourcebook. He has published in journals such as Romanticism, Romanticism on the Net and The Byron Journal and has written essays and entries for An Oxford Companion to The Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832, Romanticism: An Oxford Guide, The Blackwell Companion to European Romanticism, and The Oxford Handbook to English Literature and Theology. Among other current projects he is working on the literature and culture of mountaineering in the Romantic period.

    Visit Simon’s profile page at the University of Lancaster here.