National Poetry Day Enter The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize

Published: 28th September 2017

Every year, National Poetry Day celebrates and inspires people across the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. We wanted to use today as a chance to tell you about the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize. This is part of ‘The Takeover Festival’ for emerging North East artists and arts leaders under 25.

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize showcases the best young poetry talent in North East England at an award ceremony at The Customs House. Winners will receive cash prizes and shortlisted poets feature in a published collection. Further details of the prizes will be announced nearer the time.

So here’s the challenge:

  • Write a poem about anything (it could be funny, scary, beautiful… we love how poems can inspire so many emotions);
  • Give it a title;
  • Email it to ;
  • Include your name, date of birth, your parent/guardian’s name and poscode;
  • If you are still at school, college or university, include the name of your place of study.

e.g. ‘Squirmy Worms’ by Billy Yeats, 20/1/2009, John Yeats (dad), NE33 1ES, Tyneside Primary

The deadline for poems is midday on Friday 27th April 2018.

There are three age categories: under 11; 11 to 16; and 17 to 25. Shortlisted entries will be included in an anthology, a published collection of poems. A panel of judges decide which poems are shortlisted, and the category winners. Last year’s anthology is available online here.

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize

We have to talk about Terry when talking about The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize. Terry  was a writer and poet from Jarrow and a journalist for The Shields Gazette. The Kelly family have a strong connection with The Customs House. Tom, Terry’s brother, has written numerous plays for The Customs House, like ‘The Dolly Mixtures’. Terry’s niece, Fiona, is the Deputy Director at The Customs House.

The competition is only possible thanks to the support of The Kelly Family as well as many others. We’d like to thank The Gazette, The Barbour Foundation, Red Squirrel Press, The Rotary Club of Jarrow with Harton and our other supporters who make this possible. We will announce further details about the awards nearer the time of The Takeover. Stay tuned for updates about The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize and The Takeover announcements.

Please note, we can’t accept poems previously entered. Also, this is a poetry competition for children and young people, so if you’re over 25 sorry we can’t accept your poems. We also cannot accept poems from young poets outside North East England. If you write poems, are over 25 and want to enter your poems in competitions take a look at The Poetry Society .

The Takeover Festival will take place from Monday 28th May to Friday 1st June 2018.

For more information about The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize contact For questions about The Takeover Festival, including sponsorship opportunities, contact

We’ll sign off by sharing one of last year’s winning poems by Chralotte Macmillan.

          The Boats Go Out To Sea


          The boats go out to the

          swirling sparkly blue sea

          passing the lighthouse

          on the rocks.


          People fishing on the

          jetty waving goodbye.


         Seagulls making lots of

         noise as people pass.


         When the moon rises

         the light will shine

         to show you the way.