Pandemic Poetry competition

01 Dec 2020 – 10 Oct 2021

Harrogate Round Table has announced the launch of their Pandemic Poetry competition with the ultimate goal of producing an anthology book in time for Christmas 2021.

The competition commences on the 1st December 2020, when the ‘virtual’ doors open to submissions from anyone living in a HG postcode. The organisation is looking for poetry that captures the towns experience of living through the pandemic. The highs and lows, grief and loneliness, fear and hope or humorous and romantic. The only caveats are you must live in the town and the poem be based directly or indirectly on COVID.

The Round Table aims to produce a cultural record of how we have all been affected by the life changing experience of living through a pandemic. This is an historical record for future generations to understand how one town experienced the virus. The organisation is encouraging people to plumb the depths of their minds to create unique, interesting and powerful prose that speaks to the reader.

The competition will take place over the next year with seasonal winners voted by a high calibre judging panel who will also select approximately one thousand poems for publishing in the anthology. If you have ever wanted to be a published writer, then start creating because this is your chance.

The Pandemic Poetry competition forms one part of the Round Tables revised calendar of events which prior to Covid included the Stray Bonfire and Harrogate Beer Festival. The new ‘Micro’ Table formation of the group will see launches of Charity Beer Boxes and Christmas Toy Collecting. Community service events that underpin the heart of the Round Table organisation and its members.

Already a destination for authors and literary festivals, Harrogate is firmly established in the writing world as a cultural beacon. The Victorian spa town boasts venues such as the Royal Hall, Harrogate Theatre and International centre, all located close to the 200 acre Stray and Valley Gardens.

Always pioneering in the town, Harrogate Round Table will not let the pandemic stop the organisation in its duty to provide community events and charitable works. Highlights of the Pandemic Poetry competition will include:

  • Soft launch – 1st December 2020
    Competition rules available on our website
  • Winter Winners – 20th March 2021
  • Spring Winners – 29th June 2021
  • Summer Winners – 21st August 2021
  • Autumn Winners – 31st October 2021
    Every season our winners will be awarded prizes and selected poems will be green lit for publication.
  • Launch Night – 4th December 2021
    Attended by all our winners and published poets, the launch night will offer a first chance to buy the completed book, meet other poets and bask in the glow of literary success. There will be selected live poetry readings and special guests to make this a night to remember.

The competition is about our community creating a cultural work of art and perhaps there is a Sylvia Plath or Rudyard Kipling waiting for a chance to shine. The anthology book is one that is written and created by our town so it’s time for you to make your mark, inspire a generation and contribute to an historical record!

Andrew Rickard, Chairman of Harrogate Round Table, comments: ‘We’re really excited to be launching this competition, it’s something we’ve talked about for a while and it felt like the right time to give it a go! The global pandemic has changed all our lives in different ways and I can’t wait to hear the experiences of Harrogate through the medium of poetry. This book could have a very positive impact on the community as a whole.