The Keats-Shelley Prize



The deadline for 2017's Keats-Shelley Prize has now passed, and no more entries will be be accepted.

Sincere thanks to everyone who wrote and Essay or a Poem. Your work has now been passed to our Judging panel who will begin the long and very difficult process of whittling down a record number of entries to a shortlist for our Prize Chair, Floella Benjamin.

The shortlists will be posted here early in Spring.

For further updates, follow our Twitter account: @Keats_Shelley

The 2017 Keats-Shelley Prize will celebrate the theme 'To a Friend,' commemorating the 200th anniversary of the publication of John Keats's first poetry anthology. Several of the poems in this volume are dedicated to his brothers and to friends, and reflect on the writer's relationships, as he transformed from young medical trainee to young Romantic poet. Please read our blog entry on the inspiration behind this year’s theme.

Poems should focus on the theme, and not exceed more than 30 lines. Essays can focus on any aspect of the work and lives of Keats, Shelley, and their circles, and should not exceed 3,000 words. See below for the complete regulations.

Entries may now be submitted via There is no charge for entering, but please remember to include a list of your entries, your name, address, and full contact details in your email. The final deadline for entries is 15th January 2017. Please feel free to explore this website for the details of previous winners and their work, press coverage, and more information about the activities of the KSMA.

All shortlisted candidates will enjoy seeing their work published online or in print, and will be invited to celebrate with us at our annual Awards Ceremony, which takes place in the second half of April at the Royal Festival Hall, in London. Winners will share £4,000 in prize money.

If you have a press enquiry, an urgent enquiry about the prize which is not answered in the regulations, or if you are a teacher, librarian, or museum officer and would like to receive posters to display, please contact us on the email address above.

Judges Panel

The Chair of Judges is Baroness Floella Benjamin.

Poems: Matthew Sweeney & Jo Shapcott

Essays: Professor Simon Bainbridge & Professor Sharon Ruston

For more information about 2017's Judging Panel: click this link.


Poems should focus on the theme ‘To A Friend.’ They must not exceed 30 lines and should not be a pastiche. Essays Essays can be on any aspect of the work or lives of the Romantics and their circles and should not exceed 3,000 words including quotations. They should be written in a clear and accessible style. All sources must be acknowledged. Publication Entries must be original works and neither (i) published previously, whether in print or online or in any other media, nor (ii) previously submitted to us. If you have any queries, please contact us before submitting your entry. All entries are now free You may enter up to two poems and two essays.

Your Entry

We kindly request that all entries be made online via email or the KSMA website. Please contact us if you need to make a postal entry due to exceptional circumstances. Please note that personal data is recorded from submission form, and all entries are sent to the judges anonymously. Please do not put your name on the entry itself.


Short-listed candidates will be notified in April and a presentation ceremony will take place at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in the second half of April 2017. All short-listed candidates are encouraged to attend, although international and Irish candidates will be notified of the prize outcome before a commitment is sought.

Submissions open: 1st September 2016 Deadline for entries: 15th January 2017

If you are aged 16 to 18 please refer to our Young Romantics Prize for more details.

Legal Information

Entries must be original works and neither (i) published previously, whether online or in any other media, nor (ii) previously submitted to us. In consideration for our providing you with the opportunity to have your Entry published in any journal which is published under the aegis of the KSMA or the Keats-Shelley Museum in Rome (“Journal”), you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, worldwide licence to publish your Entry in any such Journal. For the avoidance of doubt, copyright in your Entry remains vested in you, save that if your Entry is chosen as the winning Entry in this competition, then you hereby grant to us an exclusive licence to publish your Entry in any Journal throughout the world and, further, we may ask you to sign a separate agreement to this effect.