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FAQ: 2019 Women's Poetry and Pamphlet Competitions

Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Women's Poetry and Pamphlet Competitions! Please read the below carefully before contacting us.

In this section:

  1. Submission Process
  2. Previous Publication information
  3. Format and Style Guides
  4. Results

1. Submission Process

How do I submit?

The best way to submit is via Submittable. You must make an account with your email and contact information and then submit via the relevant form by uploading the relevant documents and processing payment. Click here to submit single poems and here to submit a pamphlet.

You can also submit via the phone or by post. To submit via phone, you will need to be able to send files via email. Call +44 (0) 191 230 8100 to pay over the phone. We will go through the details in the form with you, and you will be sent an email prompt to send us your work. You must send this to us before the competition deadline of 5pm GMT, 16th September 2019, to be considered. 

You can submit via post by printing off this submission form and sending it completed to us at Poetry Book Society, Milburn House, Dean Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1LF, UK. The form will give further details about this process.

Can I pay now and submit later?

When submitting online, payment and file submission occurs at the same time. Postal submissions must include payment and the submission at the same time to make sure these are linked together and the submission is successful. We advise phone entrants to only pay when your work is ready to submit.

The upload is not working, what should I do?

Please ensure that the file is saved as a word document, in .doc or .docx format, or as a PDF. 

Will I receive a confirmation email once I have uploaded my entry via the upload form?

Yes, you will be sent an automated confirmation email. If you haven’t received this email, please check your spam.

Will I receive delivery confirmation for postal submissions?

If you wish to be notified of delivery, please include a pre-written, pre-stamped, and pre-addressed postcard or letter in a postal submission. We will post this to you on receipt. Unfortunately if it does not have all of these details and postage included we will not return this to you. 

What do I do if I’m unsure my entry has arrived safely?

Please don’t submit the same poems multiple times if you think the entry has not gone through. If you think something has gone wrong with the upload, please get in touch and we’ll check for you.

I want to enter both the pamphlet and poetry competitions. What do I do?

You can enter both competitions as separate submissions. Please ensure your submissions go through the correct categories.

I have forgotten which poems I submitted. What do I do?

If you submit via the online Submittable platform you will have a record of your entries when you look at your account. If you have submitted via post we will record this information when we come to process your entry and can investigate for you at that point.

Can I send my entry recorded delivery?

We can receive post sent by recorded delivery to our office. It will be accepted and signed for by our office reception.

Will someone be there to accept my postal entry at the weekend?

Unfortunately not, as our office is closed during the weekend.

I submitted long before the deadline but my cheque hasn’t been cashed yet. 

Submissions via post will be processed in batches, so there may be some delay in us cashing your cheque. 

I am entering both the pamphlet and poetry competitions by post, should I send separate cheques?

We would prefer it if you write two separate cheques in this instance.

Will my poems be returned to me?

Submissions will not be returned, so please keep a copy.

I am having problems with my Submittable account (including registering and payment), what do I do?

Submittable is a third-party platform which hosts the submission form, accounts and payment process. Please contact their help centre directly for any issues with the service.

Do I have to subscribe to Mslexia to enter, or be a Poetry Book Society member?

You do not have to subscribe/be a member to either of these organisations to submit, but we would love for you to receive our mailings! Find out more about PBS membership options here and the Mslexia magazine here.

Can I submit collaborative work or work by multiple poets?

Only poems or pamphlets by a single author can be entered.

I’m a man, can I submit?

We’re sorry but we do not accept submissions from men. This prize was founded by Mslexia to provide a platform for women writers. If you’d like to read more about Mslexia's reasoning, please read the two articles here.   


2. Previous Publication Information

Can I submit published work?

You cannot submit published work to the Poetry Competition.

Individual poems within your submission to the Pamphlet Competition may have been previously published in magazines or anthologies. They may not have been previously published in your own pamphlet or full collection, and the pamphlet as a whole must not have been previously published.

I have had other work published before. Does that mean I can submit?

Poets who have previously had a full collection published cannot submit to the pamphlet competition. Otherwise, you're good to go!

What counts as 'published'?

If a poem has been published, or accepted for publication, in any print or online format by a third party (a business, publisher, or other organisation or individual other than yourself) then it counts as published. If you self-published your work for commercial purposes, such as via Amazon, or for sale on any platform, this also counts as published.

I uploaded this poem to my blog/website/social media, does this count as published?

No. If they were not selected by a third party and were not for commercial use, they are not considered published. If a third party then selects them for official promotion or inclusion on a website or other format, however, this does count as published. 

My poems were published a long time ago and they have changed since then. Does this count as published?


My poems have been published in another country (or in another language). Does this count as published?


I self-published my pamphlet, can I still submit?

Your pamphlet will not be eligible, as per the terms and conditions. This is because publication is part of the prize.

I have previously had a pamphlet published. Can I submit to the pamphlet competition?

As long as it is not the same one you are entering, and you have not had a full collection published too, of course! 

What counts as a full collection?

A work by a single author of more than 48 pages of poetry.

My work has received prize/payment in another competition, can I enter?

You cannot submit poetry which has already received another award or prize.

Do you accept simultaneous submissions?

Yes. However, if within the duration of our competition you are shortlisted or selected for another prize with the same work, it must be removed from our competition.

I have had work other than poetry published before. Am I still eligible for the Unpublished Prize?

As long as you've never had poetry published before, you are eligible for this prize.


3: Format and Style Guides

How should I present my poems?

Poems should be typed clearly on white A4 paper with black font, with a title at the start of the poem. If the document runs over more than 1 page, these should be numbered. Do not include your name within the document, or in the file name if submitting online.

What font, size and spacing should I use?

Use a clear, standard font like Times, Arial, Calibri, Cambria or similar in sizes 11 or 12. Only use capitalisation, underlining and bold where the poem requires it. Use single spacing between lines (unless stylistically important).

What counts as pages of poetry or lines of poetry?

Only pages containing poems, or actual lines of poetry, are counted in these instances. Blank spaces and contents pages are not included in the page count.

I have a poetry sequence. Is this one poem or multiple poems?

If it is more verses of an extended sequence of which the parts should not stand on their own as poems, then this can be considered one poem. If it is a set of interlinked poems with different titles, this is considered to be multiple poems.

Are the 24 pages and 20 poems rules for pamphlets a hard limit?

Yes. You may have fewer than 24 pages and fewer than 20 poems, though we encourage you to have between 20 and 24 pages. You may not go over either number.

Can I submit pamphlets from multiple authors? For instance, a mini-anthology from friends or colleagues?

No, this is for a single author.

Should I staple postal submissions?

No. Postal submissions should be paperclipped, within a plastic wallet, or loose, with numbered pages to make the scanning process easier.

Can I print on both sides of the paper?

Yes, this is not a problem for our scanner.

Should I start poems on new pages?


When submitting online, do I have to upload each of my poems as separate attachments?

For the Poetry Competition, you should upload the poems as separate documents. If a single poem goes over multiple pages, upload these pages as one document with page numbers.

For the Pamphlet Competition, please submit one document with numbered pages. 

I’ve accidentally left my name on my entry, what do I do?

Please email us here.

I’ve made changes to my poem, or changed the title, since submitting my entry to the competition. Can I send a replacement?

No alterations may be made to poetry or pamphlet collections after they are submitted, as per our terms and conditions. 

I’ve noticed a major error in my entry after I’ve uploaded it, what do I do?

Please email us here. We will not allow corrections for typos and other minor errors, but if for example you upload the wrong file we can amend this. Please proof-read your submission carefully before submitting.


4: Results

What time is the deadline?

17.00 GMT, 16th September 2019. If you live outside of the UK, please make sure your entry reaches us based on GMT.

Will I be notified of the outcome of my entry?

Winners will be contacted by post (and email, if applicable) in November 2019 for the poetry competition and February 2019 for the pamphlet competition. We will endeavor to contact all unsuccessful entries before this. Please do not email us to ask if you have won. We will let you know if you do! 

Will the winners’ names be published online?

Yes, both the PBS and Mslexia will announce the winners online as well as in print. We may also ask winners for a promotional image and biography at the point of notifying them of their success.

Will shortlists be published online?

The names of the 17 finalists, first, second and third prize winners, and unpublished prize winner for the poetry competition will be published online. The sole winner of the pamphlet competition will be published online.

When can I submit the same poems to another competition?

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but if you wish to play this safe you should wait until December 2019 for the Poetry Competition, or March 2020 for the Pamphlet competition.

My Submittable account still says 'In Progress' (or similar). What does this mean?

If you have not been contacted by the end of November 2019 for the Poetry Competition or the end of February 2020 for the Pamphlet Competition, unfortunately your submission has not been successful. We will attempt to keep Submittable more neat and tidy for submitters this year, as we know it caused confusion last time!


If you cannot find your question or something still is not clear, please contact us by email here, or by phone on +44 (0) 191 230 8100.

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