Poetry Prize 2019 - open for submissions

About the Prize

The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000 and is invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University. For this they receive travel, accommodation, and a $1,000 honorarium.

Chair of the Judging Panel 2019 will be Professor Nick Laird, Chair of Creative Writing (poetry) at the Seamus Heaney Centre. The panel will compile a shortlist of up to five outstanding books of poetry, to be announced in June 2019. The winner will be announced at an Award Night during the Poetry Summer School in July 2019. 

The Prize is part of the Seamus Heaney Legacy Project, a fund established by Queen’s University and the Arts Council of NI, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies. 


  • Three copies of each work must be submitted with each application (these are not returnable)
    along with any available press material
  • Each submission must include an Entry Form - contact for an entry form 
  • Entries must be submitted in hardcopy to: The Seamus Heaney Centre, School of Arts, English, and Languages, Queen’s University, 2 University Square, Belfast BT7 1NN
  • The Seamus Heaney Centre will acknowledge receipt of submissions by email
  • The deadline for entries to the 2019 Poetry Prize is Monday, 1 April 2019


  • Entries must be the first collection by the author.
  • Entries must have a min. 40 pages.
  • Entries must have been published in the UK or Ireland between 1 Jan and 31 Dec 2018.
  • Entries must be in printed book format, not that of a magazine, pamphlet, periodical, or ebook.
  • Authors may be of any nationality but the work must be published in the UK or Ireland.
  • The work must be written in or have been translated into the English language.
  • All books must carry an ISBN.
  • Submissions may come from publishers, who may enter an unlimited number of books. 
  • Anthologies or collections of works by more than one author are not eligible.
  • A collection of translations by various hands is not eligible.
  • A book by a current judge is not eligible.
  • Members of staff and current students at the Seamus Heaney Centre are not eligible to enter


  • Judges have absolute discretion in interpreting the terms, and their decision is final.
  • Judges may split the Prize between two or more entries or withhold the Prize if they do not consider any entry to be of sufficient merit.
  • Should a prize-winning book be a translation from a living poet, the prize is awarded 60% to the translator and 40% to the original poet. If the original poet is dead, but his/her work is within copyright, 40% of the prize is given to the original poet’s estate.
  • No feedback is given on any of the entries.
  • The Seamus Heaney Centre may at any time invite publishers to submit a book. In that event, the publisher will be required to comply with all terms. 
  • Submission of an author's work by their publisher will be taken as agreement by the author that they are willing to enter, and participate in all reasonable publicity associated with the Prize.
  • Should these rules not fully cover any particular circumstances, the decision of the judges on the eligibility of a collection of poetry is final and binding.

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