Chester Cathedral Young Poets Competition

As Chester Cathedral’s Poet-in-Residence, I’m delighted to announce our Young People’s Poetry Competition for poems of up to 40 lines on Chester Cathedral’s 2020 theme of Journey.

Journeys can take many forms across distance and through time; over outer landscape or inner territory. Poems can also take many forms. We are open to imaginative and creative approaches to the theme and on the page.


Age Categories: 16-18 and 19-25

Book Token Prizes for each category: 

 Ist Prize:    £25  

2nd Prize:  £15  

3rd Prize:   £10 

Closing date: Midnight on March 31st 2020

Our judge is  Carole Bromley 

Carole Bromley is a York-based poet with three collections to her name and a fourth due out in 2020. Winner of a number of prizes, including The Bridport and the 2019 Hamish Canham Award, Carole has also judged several poetry competitions, including the YorkMix Poetry Prize, the Grey Hen competition and the Settle Sessions competition. See more at 




Winners will be announced in early May and receive their prizes at a Prize-giving event on May 20th, 6.30-8pm  @Chester Cathedral Refectory.

Cathedral Canon Missioner and Vice Dean, Canon Jane Brooke, says, ‘I’m delighted that Chester Cathedral can host a poetry competition, and look forward to reading the winning entries.’ 

Please see the Conditions of Entry below for your online competition entries. We look forward to receiving them, and hope that this competition may be an encouraging start of a poetic journey for our entrants.

Conditions of Entry 

  1. The competition is open to anyone aged in the 16-18 category or 19-25. Age category will be defined by the entrant’s age as of 31st March 2020. 
  2. Poems must be written on the theme of Journey.
  3. All entries will be considered anonymously by the Judge and the entrant’s name must not appear on the submitted poem. 
  4. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title) 
  5. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy. For administrative reasons, entries cannot be acknowledged.
  6. The Judge will read all the entries. The Judge’s decision is final and individual feedback will not be provided.
  7. Poems must be original, the entrant’s own work, and must not have been published, self-published, published on a website, Facebook or Twitter or other online media, or broadcast (except in an individual school magazine), nor entered in other competitions.
  8. Entries must be presented in black, 12pt, Times New Roman.
  9. Poems must be submitted online to Julia McGuinness at  or
  10. Send your poems as an attachment, not in the body of the e-mail. Send a cover sheet as a separate attachment. The cover sheet must include your name, contact details (address, phone and e-mail); your entry category and date of birth; the title of the poem(s) you are entering. Attachments must be in one of the following formats: Word (.doc or .docx), Pages or PDF.
  11. We cannot accept postal entries in any circumstances.
  12. Entrants must be resident in the United Kingdom and be written in English. The competition excludes present Chester Cathedral employees and their immediate family.
  13. Poems may not be amended or edited after submission.
  14. Prizewinners will be notified in early May 2020. Winning poets will be expected to be available for publicity around the awards and where possible to attend the prize-giving ceremony on 20th May. 
  15. Copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning poems, by entering the competition, grant Chester Cathedral the right in perpetuity to publish and/or broadcast their poem. Use of the poems elsewhere for one year from April 2020 is subject to permission from Chester Cathedral.
  16. The winning poems, alongside commended poems from each category, will be chosen for display in Chester Cathedral from May until end of September.
  17. The winning poems may also be included in an anthology of Journeys poems, to be produced later in the year.
  18. Please read the rules carefully. Entries which do not meet the competition’s criteria will be disqualified. The organiser reserves the right to update the rules at any time.


  • About Julia


    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

    Read more about Julia
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