Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing – Submissions process open – closing 14 Dec 2018

Literature and Verbal Arts (LaVA) at Community Arts Partnership is delighted to open the submissions process for the 2018-2019 Poetry in Motion project.

This year we are excited to announce that with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the continuing endorsement of the Heaney family, we will be presenting the fourth Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing to the most outstanding submission through this process.

Every year, since 2000, Community Arts Partnership publishes an anthology of new writing from poets across Northern Ireland. This will be our eighteenth such anthology, and we are opening up this year’s submissions process today, 9th October 2018.

Anyone over 16 years of age, living in Northern Ireland, is eligible to make a submission for the anthology by following the guidelines on the website.

The submissions process will close on Friday December 14th, 2018 at 9 am, sharp.

See the guidelines at the bottom of the page or download the submissions below.

   Download the PIMC Submissions guidelines 2018-19 (docx)

We extend our sincere thanks to the Heaney family for the continued opportunity to offer the awards, in particular Marie Heaney, the widow of the late Nobel laureate, for her warm support.

The winner, runner up and shortlisted of the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2018

Furthermore, we congratulate and applaud our principal funder, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, for the additional funding support for this award process. As their Head of Literature, Damian Smyth, was quick to point out, ‘The Seamus Heaney Awards, as offered by CAP, are the only awards in the world to carry his name.’ We in CAP are humbled and committed to honouring the trust placed in us and the legacy of our foremost recognised poet, in offering these awards.

Once the selection has been made for the anthology, the selected poems will be presented to a panel which will include representatives from ACNI, the Heaney family, Community Arts Partnership and other members of the local literary community from across the region. The panel will then make the decision as to whom to award this accolade. This presents an exciting opportunity to all new and emerging poets living here, to be recognised for their craft and can be a springboard to the next stage on their literary career.

You can read about last year’s award, in the words of the winner, Linda McKenna HERE,




Our poet facilitators have begun the process of working with writers’ groups in workshops throughout Northern Ireland. These workshops are designed to elicit the very best draft from each participant.

We are also delighted to offer an amazing day of bespoke masterclasses with leading local poets to help you prepare for your submissions on Saturday 24th November at Community Arts Partnership, the Arts Resource Centre, 7 Donegall Street Place, Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2FN. Further details will be available soon.

Places at these masterclasses are limited, and offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so please email LaVA Coordinator Shelley Tracey at if you wish to attend. You will be informed of the details of the masterclasses as soon as they are available, and can then make your workshop choices.

Good luck to all of you.


This anthology is dedicated to supporting new writing only.

  1. Poems previously published must not be submitted.

Work that has appeared online for any reason is considered to have been previously published and should NOT be submitted.

  1. Submissions should be made as an attachment by email in a Word-compatible document to
  2. Poems must be submitted by 9am on Friday 14th December 2018. Late submissions will NOT be accepted.
  3. Poems should be not more than 35 lines long (including titles and line/stanza breaks).
  4. Submissions must be accompanied by your name, address, postcode, phone number, email address and a statement that verifies the poem has not been published elsewhere.
  5. You must live in Northern Ireland (we will verify your address should your poetry be selected)
  6. No more than three submissions per person are permitted.
  7. By making a submission, you grant permission for Community Arts Partnership to publish the poems submitted in the forthcoming anthology
  8. By making a submission to the anthology, you grant permission for your work to be considered for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, if selected for the anthology.
  9. Do not make simultaneous submissions to other potential publishers i.e. work that has been submitted or is being considered elsewhere should not be submitted.
  10. We cannot accept requests for changes after you have made your submission, so please ensure it is correct before you click send.
  11. Please keep a copy of your poems as we are unable to return them or enter into any correspondence regarding your work.
  12. Copyright remains with the poet, however if your work is published by Community Arts Partnership you must credit us in any future anthologies or collections in which your work appears stating that the piece was first published by Community Arts Partnership and giving the name of the publication and the year in which it was published.
  13. Community Arts Partnership reserves the right to offer editorial changes and suggestions prior to publication. In this event, poets will be contacted.
  14. Community Arts Partnership is not able to provide individual feedback on any submission.
  15. Failure to adhere to these guidelines will render your submission ineligible for the anthology and for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.
  16. By making a submission to the anthology you accept that the decisions of Community Arts Partnership regarding this anthology and awards process are absolute and final.

Submission Tips

Is this your first submission to a poetry anthology? Well, here are a few tips:

  • Check your punctuation and spelling. If this is sloppy it implies that you haven’t taken care to edit and that you are submitting a draft. If unsure, ask someone to look over it for you.
  • Avoid using the most obvious words. If your submission is to stand out in the selection process it needs to be different.
  • Avoid the abstract: show don’t tell e.g. ‘She filled one teacup’ rather than ‘she was lonely’
  • Let the reader do some work. Convey an emotion by describing a moment rather than by describing a thought.
  • Is there a reason for rhyme? If not, go with better words rather than rhyming words.
  • On a similar theme, be creative and avoid clichés. Approach the idea from a different angle.
  • Write in a voice that is comfortable to you. (We don’t speak in Shakespearean language so why would we write that way?)
  • Avoid being verbose, or relying on jargon. Simplicity is often stronger.
  • Avoid language that could be defamatory, libellous or slanderous.
  • Read your poem back aloud. Are you tripping over a word? Change it.

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