1st Prize £1500
2nd Prize £300
3rd Prize £200
Share your words with us and the World.
Welcome to…

THE BEDFORD COMPETITION, a nonprofit group, runs annual international short story and poetry competitions for anyone in the world over 17 years of age.

There are prizes totalling £4,600 and all winning and shortlisted stories and poems are published as an anthology.

SHORT STORY & POETRY COMPETITION MAIN PRIZES – £1500

2nd PRIZES – £300

3rd PRIZES – £200

 

CYGNATURE SHORT STORY & POETRY PRIZES  – £200

The University of Bedfordshire is sponsoring the 

Cygnature Prizes for young writers aged 17-25 yrs

 

BEDFORD SHORT STORY & POETRY PRIZES – £100

All submissions are entered in the Main Prize.

Latest News

Welcome to our brand new website. We are pleased to announce that the 2024 competition is now open from 1st May to 31st October. We are accepting submissions of short stories and poetry in English from across the world.

The anthology of shortlisted and winning stories and poems from the 2023 competition is now available soon in our Bookstore.

2023 Anthology
£9.00

Please scroll down to see the announcement of who will be the judges this year.

2024 Competition – Judges

Jessica Mookherjee -Main Poetry Prize

Jessica Mookherjee

Poetry Prize Judge

Jessica Mookherjee is author of two poetry collections and her second, Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was Shortlisted for best second collection in the Ledbury Munthe Prize 2021. Her new collection is called Notes from a Shipwreck published by Nine Arches ... Read More

Rishi Dastidar

Cygnature Poetry Prize Judge

Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times and BBC amongst many others. He is a fellow of The Complete Works, and a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine. A poem from his Laurel Prize long-listed third collection, Neptune’s Projects (Nine Arches Press), was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2024... Read More

Paul Barnes​

Bedford Story Prize Judge

Paul Barnes retired from teaching secondary school English Language and Literature in Bedford in 2019. He has been a keen attender of poetry and cultural events in north Beds, and chairs Poetry Café monthly... Read More

Acknowledgements

2020 to 2023 Archive

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Liv Maidment

Short Story Prize Judge

Liv Maidment is Head of Books and a Literary Agent specialising in literary, upmarket, and book club fiction. Liv came to the Madeleine Milburn Agency from The Blair Partnership and United Agents where she worked with bestselling and award-winning authors and global literary brands. She joined the agency in 2020 where she represents a stellar list of literary, upmarket, and book club fiction. As Head of Books, Liv works closely with the directors to implement strategy across the agency.

Jessica Mookherjee

Short Story Prize Judge

Jessica Mookherjee is author of two poetry collections and her second, Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was Shortlisted for best second collection in the Ledbury Munthe Prize 2021. She has been twice highly commended in the Forward Prize for best single poem (in 2018 and in 2021) and her work is included in notable anthologies such as ‘Staying Human’ (Bloodaxe). Her latest pamphlet is Playlists (Broken Sleep Books). Her next full collection is called Notes from a Shipwreck and out with Nine Arches Press in August 2022 . Her long poem Desire Lines will be published by Broken Sleep Books in 2023. She is a co-editor of Against the Grain Press and a Board Member of the Poetry Society.

Stephen Bywater

Cygnature Story Prize Judge

Stephen Bywater joined the merchant navy at sixteen before going on to study English at university. After graduating he taught in South and Central America for three years, returning to the UK to complete an MLitt at St Andrews. For the past twenty years he has taught English in Bedford, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is currently teaching English at College in Cambridge He is the author of two novels, The Devil’s Ark and Night of the Damned (published by Headline/Hachette), and is currently working on his third.

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Paul Barnes

Bedford Story Prize Judge

Paul Barnes retired from teaching secondary school English Language and Literature in Bedford in 2019. He has been a keen attender of poetry and cultural events in north Beds, and chairs Poetry Café monthly, in succession to the late Richard Hancock. The group has seen four compilation volumes edited by Paul in 2021-22. He writes occasional poetry and prose, co-runs the monthly Read Poets Society, helps in two local bookshops, and is a fanatic for cricket umpiring and Shakespeare, The Place Theatre, the Rothsay Education Centre, and the Campaign for Real Ale.

Liam Coles

Bedford Poetry Prize Judge

Liam Coles is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge. His project focuses on sound and religiosity in twentieth-century US poetry. He researches how poetic sound forms can interrelate with cognitive understandings of consciousness, and traces an historic lineage from pulpit to lectern heard in the voicings of American poets during performance. He secured a scholarship for his master’s degree at the University of Oxford (2017-18), where he wrote mainly on nineteenth-century religious poetry, including the work of the Rossetti siblings and Keats. He has a first-class BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol (2013-16), and his undergraduate dissertation concerned the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Born and raised in Bedford, Liam now lives in London and enjoys cooking and nature, but poetry is his real joy, and outside of his academic work he loves to discover writers he has not yet heard of!

Rishi Dastidar

Cygnature Poery Prize Judge

Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times and BBC amongst many others. He is a fellow of The Complete Works, and a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine. A poem from his debut collection Ticker-tape was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018, and his second collection, Saffron Jack, was published in the UK by Nine Arches Press in 2020. He is also editor of The Craft: A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century (Nine Arches Press), and co-editor of Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different: Poems from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (Corsair).

A poem from Rishi Dastidar’s Laurel Prize long-listed third collection, Neptune’s Projects (Nine Arches Press), was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2024. He is editor of The Craft: A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century (Nine Arches Press), and co-editor of Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different: Poems from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (Corsair). He also reviews poetry for The Guardian (UK) and is a trustee of Wasafiri. (Photograph credit: Naomi Woddis)