The Sylvia Plath Prize – A New Themed Poetry Competition | After Sylvia
After Sylvia
Celebrating the 90th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s birth

Terms and Conditions


1. The Sylvia Plath Prize is an international themed poetry competition open to poets aged 18 and over.

2. The deadline for submissions is midnight, UK time, on 31 December 2021.

3. Each poem entered into the competition should respond to one of the following Plathian themes:

– Nature
– Magic
– Mothers & Fathers
– Womanhood
– Rebirth

More than one poem per entry may respond to the same theme. Poems may respond to a theme directly or indirectly.

4. Entries must be in English and will be accepted from any country.

5. Poems must be the entrant’s original work and not previously published in print or online. (Poems published in a closed group online are eligible.)

6. Poems must be no more than 40 lines in length (this does not include the title or any epigraphs/footnotes).

7. Poems do not need to address Plath or her work. However, should you wish to do so, you are welcome to respond (directly or indirectly) to her legacy and/or writing.

8. If you enter work that responds to or ‘talks back’ to a particular Plath poem, please reference the poem in a footnote, e.g. Inspired by [Title of Plath poem] or In response to [Title of Plath poem]. This is to notify the judges and will not have to appear on published work.

9. To avoid copyright issues, please do not quote directly from Sylvia Plath’s work in the main body of the poem.

10. All entries will be read anonymously by the judges. Therefore, the poet’s name and/or contact details must not appear on any of the poems or in the filename.

11. Each entry (between one and five poems) should be submitted in a single document.

12. Each poem should be placed on a separate page within the document.

13. Submissions to the competition are via Submittable. Attachments must be in one of the following formats: Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF. Only one document per entry please (not one document per poem).

14. Please use the title of your (first) poem as the filename when attaching your poems through Submittable.

15. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual entrant can make.

16. We regret we are unable to accept postal entries.

17. Poems may not be amended or edited after submission.

18. No simultaneous submissions please.


First prize of £1000. Second prize of £300. Third prize of £100

The top three poems will be published in After Sylvia (Nine Arches Press, October 2022). A complimentary copy of the anthology will be awarded to each prize-winner.

At the judges’ discretion, a number of poems may be highly commended, and awarded publication in After Sylvia as well as a complimentary copy of the anthology.

Cash prizes will be paid via bank transfer or PayPal (or sterling cheque, if preferred).

Entry fees

£5 for one poem. £4 for each additional poem. £20 for five poems.

A maximum of five poems per entry. However, there is no limit to the number of times you may enter the competition.

1 poem – £5
2 poems – £9
3 poems – £13
4 poems – £17
5 poems – £20

Limited free entries


Twenty-five (25) free entries are available to poets on a low income and those experiencing financial hardship. These will be allocated (no questions asked) on a first come, first served basis. One poem per free entry. One free entry per poet.

Competition themes

Each poem entered should respond to one of five key themes which Sylvia Plath was drawn to in her work:

Mothers & Fathers

There is no need to mention which theme a poem has been written in response to.

Key dates

The Sylvia Plath Prize is open for entries from 27 October 2021 (Sylvia Plath’s birthday) to December 31 2021 (midnight, UK time).

All prize-winning and highly commended poets will be contacted by March 31 2022.

All other entrants will be notified about their submissions in April 2022.

A list of prize-winning and highly commended poems/poets will be announced on this website on or by April 30 2022. (At the judges’ discretion, a selection of shortlisted poems and poets may also be chosen and announced on this website.)

Publishing rights

Copyright of submitted, highly commended and prize-winning poems remains with the author. However, by entering this competition, prize-winning and highly commended poets give permission for their winning/commended poems to be published in After Sylvia (Nine Arches Press, October 2022).

Winning and highly commended poems may not be published elsewhere prior to publication in After Sylvia.


Competition Judges: Sarah Corbett and Ian Humphreys (co-editors of After Sylvia).

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

No poet may win more than one cash prize but commendations may be awarded in addition to a cash prize.

Entry into the competition confirms acceptance of all rules.

Organisers, partners and associates of The Sylvia Plath Prize and the After Sylvia anthology (including commissioned writers) may not enter.

The organisers reserve the right to change the prize structure or update these rules at any time.

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