Terry Kelly Poetry Prize 2020

Single Workshop

Can you help more young people showcase their writing talent and discover a love of poetry?

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize is our annual poetry prize for young writers 25 and under.

Celebrating our fifth year the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize for young people from the North East. Commemorating the life of Shields Gazette journalist and poetry lover Terry Kelly the prize encourages young people to try poetry.

We have five categories to celebrate our 5th year.

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Post 16.
  • Outstanding Group Poem (NEW FOR 2020)
  • Galvanize Prize for boys under 16 (NEW FOR 2020 encouraging more boys to write)

How do you enter?

  • Write one original poem no more that 40 lines long;
  • Give it a title;
  • Email your poem to Lauren the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize Coordinator at tkppcoordinator@gmail.com ;
  • Include your name, age and gender;
  • If you are entering a group poem it must not have more than 16 authors and you must list them all. So for instance a teacher may enter two poems written by different groups of authors from one class;
  • If you’re under 16 and entering your poem include your parent/guardian’s name and postcode. If you are still at school, college or university, include the name of your place of study and year group.
  • Indicate if you would be happy to get on stage and read your poem.

e.g. ‘Crossing the Tyne’ by Paul Smith aged 11, Patty Smith (Mam), NE33 1ES, Year 6 Tyne Junior School, yes Paul would like to be considered to read his poem.

The deadline for poems is

9am on Friday 24th April 2020.

Further Information

Include your Postcode

You must postcode your postcode due to the number of ineligible national and international entries we receive. The TKPP is for young writers in North East England and is part of the annual Takeover, a series of events programmed by young people for young people in May half term,

Enter One Poem Only

Young poets can only enter one poem. The Customs House make every effort to ensure your work is original. If we suspect plagiarism we will not be able to shortlist your poem. The Customs House can’t accept poems previously entered.


Young poets retain copyright of their work but we reserve the right to publish your work in our TKPP 2020 Anthology and use your poem online and in print to promote the TKPP, in learning resources for schools and to publically celebrate your work.

Tips for Young Poets

Whilst there is no theme your poem should be suitable for all ages. Carefully consider whether you need to use strong or explicit language as this may reduce the chance of your work being selected. Keep your poem under 40 lines.

Entering on Behalf of a Group

No group poem can have more than 16 authors. A teacher/group leader can submit multiple poems by individual authors or group poems.

Editing Your Poem

We will publish your poem left aligned. Where possible we will not edit your poems except to ensure consistency. The more modern method of writing poems is to capitalise with the punctuation in the poem. In other words, this means when you use a full stop, you capitalise the next letter, proper nouns, and other things you would normally capitalise. This makes poems more easily understood by the reader. Poems will be printed in black typeface on a white background.

Why is the Prize Just for Young People?

This is in keeping with the Kelly family’s wishes commemorating Terry. We want to encourage young poets to write and enjoy poetry as much as the many fantastic regional professional and amateur writers do.. If you’re over 25 sorry we can’t accept your poems.

The Judges

A panel of judges will be appointed nearer the time of the awards. Tom Kelly will act as head judge and the will be at least one young judge.

Any questions? Contact Elizabeth Kane email Elizabeth@customshouse.co.uk or call 0191 427 8198