Keats-Shelley Prize 2018

The Keats-Shelley Prize 2018 NOW OPEN

A call for poems on the theme of Liberty: a celebration of Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound

The Keats-Shelley Prize is an annual competition for poems and essays on Romantic themes. Inaugurated in 1998, the Prize encourages all adult writers (over 18) to respond creatively to the work of the Romantics.

Writers aged 16-18 are invited to enter the Young Romantics Prize.

In 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley began work on his first and most famous hymn to Liberty – ‘Prometheus Unbound’, based on the myth of the chained Titan Prometheus, who had stolen fire from the Gods of Olympus to give to mankind.

“The nations thronged around, and cried aloud,
As with one voice, ‘Truth, Liberty, and love!’”

It was the forerunner to his ‘Ode to Liberty’ written two years later.

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So what do we want from Liberty in 2018?

You are invited to write your own poem on Liberty; or an essay, which can be on any aspect of the work or lives of the Romantics and their circles.

Cash prizes of £3,000!

The Prize Chair is Liz Lochhead, the former Makar of Scotland and Winner of the Queen’s Medal for Poetry.


The Judges’ Panel for Poets will consist of Matthew Sweeney and Jo Shapcott; and for Essayists of Professor Simon Bainbridge and Professor Sharon Ruston. For more information about our Prize Chair and the Judging Panel, click here.

The deadline for entries is 15th January 2018. Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony in London, April 2018. Shortlisted entrants will be notified in person in March and their names posted on the website, and they will be warmly invited to attend. The winning poems and essays will be published.

Inspire us with your writing!
You can find full details of how to enter below.

Conditions of Entry

You must be over 18 on 2nd January 2018

Entries may be submitted from any part of the world, but must be in English.

All entries are FREE. They must be in Microsoft Word format and accompanied by a completed and signed Entry Form.

Download the entry form here . Email it to: Entries will be acknowledged.

NB: Poems and essays are sent to the judges anonymously so please do not put your name on your actual entry.

Your Entry

Poems must be on the theme of Liberty, not a pastiche, and be of no more than 30 lines.

Essays may be on any aspect of the lives of the Romantics and their circles, should be no more than 3,000 words including quotations, and should be written in a clear and accessible style. All sources must be acknowledged.

Winning entries will be published in the April 2019 issue of the Keats-Shelley Review (for copyright conditions see Entry Form). Entries must be original works. Plagiarism will not be accepted. They must not have been published previously, either in print or online or in any other media, nor previously submitted to us.

You can enter up to 2 poems and 2 essays.

Deadline for entries: 15 January 2018