National Poetry Prize Competition


Please read the rules carefully before entering.

  1. The competition is open to anyone who is a South African citizen or resident.
  2. The deadline for entries was midnight on 31 December 2023.
  3. Entrants may submit up to 6 poems each. All entries will be considered anonymously.
  4. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  5. Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
  6. Proof of payment and entries must be sent to All entries must be included in one Word file and sent as an attachment. Please see fees payment options below.
  7. Telephone or email confirmation of receipt is not available. New Contrast staff are unable to confirm the content of documents submitted. Ensure you send the correct version.
  8. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel.
  9. The judges will compile a shortlist of 10 poems that will be announced on 28 February 2024. The judges’ decision is final and neither the judges nor New Contrast or Bruce Jack Wines will enter into any correspondence. All shortlisted poems will be published in the Jack Journal. The three winning entries will also be published in New Contrast.
  10. The winners will be announced on 1 April 2024.
  11. The judges will make their decisions independently without any external influence. Entries will be judged anonymously without the poets’ names. No relatives of the judges may enter the competition.



  1. As all entries are judged anonymously, the poet’s name must not appear on the poem.
  2. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 60 lines in length (excluding title). The line limit applies only to the written lines of the poem, not the lines between the stanzas. Titles, epigraphs and dedications are not counted as lines either.
  3. Entrants may submit up to 6 poems (see entry fees).
  4. We have no preference as to subject or style. Simply submit your best work.
  5. Poems must be the entrant’s original works.
  6. Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website, be available online in any form, or made public on social media (including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), or broadcast or featured among the winners in another competition before April 2024.
  7. If your poem is accepted for publication elsewhere or wins another competition, you will need to inform us by email at to let us know it has found another home. Refunds cannot be made for poems that are duly withdrawn.
  8. The competition is only open for poems in English. Poems can, however, be submitted in any of the official languages of South Africa, provided they are accompanied by an English translation. Judging will take place based on the English translation. Any prize money awarded for a poem in translation with be shared equally between the poet and the translator.

Entry fees

Each entrant can submit up to a maximum of six poems at the following entry fee options:

Poems submitted (up to)      Entry fee
2 Poems                                      R75
4 Poems                                      R100
6 Poems                                      R150