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Poetry prize open

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By Fiona Reid
Poetry prize open

THE annual £1500 international Wigtown Poetry Prize – which celebrates Scotland’s three indigenous languages – is now open for entries.

The contest promotes and nurtures work in English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic, attracting entries from as far afield as the USA, Canada, Australia, Ecuador and China. It was founded in 2005 and is one of the UK’s best-established writing competitions and a launchpad for many writers’ careers.

Originally for work in English, last year it was opened up to entries in all three languages and went to Mhairi Owens, from Fife, for her Scots poem Shiftin. There are also dedicated categories, with top prizes of £500, for the best Scots and Scottish Gaelic poems.

The 2020 official launch event will take place on March 9, but entries have opened and are welcome until May 29.

Marjorie Lotfi Gill, above, who chairs the Wigtown Festival Company, said: “Wigtown Poetry Prize is going from strength to strength, attracting a high standard of entries, submitted by poets in every part of the world.

“And this year we are lucky to have a superb group of judges, including Roseanne Watt, Anna Frater and George Watt, to help select the winners. “Last year’s decision to open up the Wigtown Prize to work in all three of Scotland’s indigenous languages was widely welcomed and we look forward to receiving entries for the 2020 award in Scots and Scottish Gaelic as well as English. We also have special categories that recognise collections of poetry and encourage emerging talent from Dumfries and Galloway. “On top of all this, we are working more closely than ever with partners across Scotland to support and promote a love of poetry.”

Rules and entry details are available at


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