Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Ruskin Literary Prize

Ruskin Literary Prize logo - heron emerging from pages of book

To celebrate World Poetry Day 2024, we’re excited to announce The Ruskin Literary Prize. This new prize is available for a select group of schools – and one of them is yours!

The prizes

1st prize: £100. 2nd prize: £75. Two 3rd place prizes: £50

The judges

A panel of writing experts including Kaddy Benyon.

Kaddy Benyon started her career as a television scriptwriter for Hollyoaks and Grange Hill, and after graduating from the MA Creative Writing at ARU went on to write three collections of poetry, all published by Salt Press: Milk Fever, The Tidal Wife, and Robbergirls. Milk Fever won the Crashaw Prize in 2012 and Granta New Poet in 2011. Kaddy also works at the University of Cambridge as a mentor to students with disabilities.

Colourful pile of books

What is a poem?

According to the OED: “A piece of writing or an oral composition, often characterised by a metrical structure, in which the expression of feelings, ideas, etc., which is typically given intensity or flavour by distinctive diction, rhythm, imagery, etc”.

Theme: “The State Of The World”

Send us your orignal poem on the theme ‘The State of the World’.

What that means, how it makes you feel, and how you present your poem are all up to you. It just needs be on this theme and meet the definition of a poem above. We can’t wait to receive your poems!

Terms and conditions

The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 14-16 years of age on 31 August 2024.

Closing date for entries: Monday 29 April 2024.

ARU reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges selected by ARU. The winner will be notified by email within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Three books in a pile

How to Enter

Submit your entry digitally via email to [email protected] by 5pm on Monday 29 April. You can send written entries in a compressed PDF. For any larger files, please use an email transfer service such as WeTransfer - but please send us the link as well, in case their email does not reach us. You can also host your entry online on a personal website or a third party site or platform.

Please also make sure to include your full name, school or college, address, date of birth, email address and telephone number.

That’s it - good luck!

Fuel your passion for poetry

Cambridge Writing Centre logo

Come along to one of our Cambridge Writing Centre’s regular multi-poet event nights, based around themes as diverse as Renaissance magic, local wildlife and Shakespeare. Their Future Karaoke events often showcase new poetry and stories, such as the Polar Expedition live lit jam on 3 April 2024. The Centre also works closely with other local open mic and reading nights such as CB1 Poetry and the Mill Road Poetry Group evenings.

Discover ARU graduate and poet Sam Millar’s inspirations for his collection Retail Park, and how our course helped him get published – read Sam’s Spotlight or listen to his full interview on the ARU Spotlight podcast.

Hear ARU Creative Writing Senior Lecturer and poet Dr Jon Stone talk about his poetry inspirations and poetry and play in the 21st Century on the ARU Spotlight podcast.

Find out more about our Creative writing and English literature degrees: