Poet and Wigtown Festival Company chair Marjorie Lotfi hosted the event online last Thursday night and it included readings by last year’s judges Roseanne Watt, George T Watt and Anna Frater.
Meanwhile, the 2021 judges William Letford, Robert Alan Jamieson and Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones also revealed what they are looking for in a winning entry.
It is hoped there will be widespread interest in the competition, which is now among the best-established in the UK – attracting over 1020 entries last year.
Marjorie, pictured, said: “The competition is thriving with entries and interest coming from a multitude of countries on just about every continent – and a digital launch is the ideal way to engage as many people in as many places as possible.
“We very much hope that at a time when international travel, and all forms of social contact, have been so severely restricted that poetry will help bring us together.”
The competition has a whole series of categories and is open to poets wherever they live and work – past winners have been based as far afield as Canada and China.
The winner of the Wigtown Prize, which is open to entries in English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic, receives £1500 and the runner up £200. There are other categories specifically for Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
In addition, there is the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize, named in memory of one of Scotland’s foremost literary talents and which recognises a pamphlet of work rather than individual poems.
And there is the Dumfries and Galloway Fresh Voice Award, for poets living in, or from, the region who have never professionally published a full length collection.
A winner of one or more categories in this year’s competition will be selected at the discretion of StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival and Wigtown Festival Company to read at its 2022 event.
The competition is open for entries and details can be found at www.wigtownpoetryprize.com. The competition closes on 31 May, with a prizegiving at Wigtown Book Festival in the autumn.