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INSIDE Writing

11 May 2020

Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts 

NEWCASTLE CENTRE FOR THE LITERARY ARTS (NCLA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 NEWCASTLE POETRY COMPETITION online on Thursday 14th May. Judged by Colette Bryce and Vidyan Ravinthiran, this year’s competition saw record entries and awards £1000 to the author of the best poem in the adult competition. Twelve young poets aged between 11 and 17 are also awarded prizes in our Young People’s Poetry Prize category. Announcements of all the winners will begin on Twitter (@NCLA_Tweets) at 12 noon, Thursday 14th May, when all the winning poems will also be published here:

This announcement will coincide with the launch of INSIDE WRITING, a new digital poetry festival in lieu of the annual Newcastle Poetry Festival which is cancelled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Throughout May, June and July, NCLA will host a series of digital poetry events over Twitter and Facebook featuring some of today’s most exciting poets responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Poets will perform new work, issue challenges and writing prompts, and discuss how their writing lives have been affected. We want to ask writers, readers and enthusiasts, what effect has living under lockdown had on your writing, and what kinds of literature will emerge as a result?

Featuring poets Inua Ellams, Sasha Dugdale, Rishi Dastidar, Carolyn Forché, W.N. Herbert, Jackie Kay, Sean O'Brien, and Imtiaz Dharker, among others, we aim to inspire readers and writers to reflect on their experiences of witnessing the outbreak of COVID-19 and the global response, and submit their responses in any form, for publication on NCLA’s archive website:

Our partners, the Poetry Book Society (PBS) and the Institute for English Studies (IES) are also contributing to the festival. The PBS will co-host a showcase reading of recently selected poets, and the IES are commissioning writers and academics to respond to the work of Inside Writing poets with creative micro-essays.

NCLA Director, Sinéad Morrissey, says of the festival: “I’m delighted to see the launch of NCLA’s Inside Writing digital poetry festival this week – a real cause for celebration at a time of such national uncertainty. A huge well done to all the competition winners, too. There’s a lot of wonderful new work coming up soon so do stay tuned to our social media channels and get involved with the challenges. We’re looking forward to the wider conversations the festival will spark about creativity, crisis and change.” 

Festival events can be accessed and viewed by following NCLA on Twitter (@NCLA_Tweets) or Facebook (, and will take place between 7 May and 31 July 2020.

NCLA invites submissions of responses to the challenges in any form and will publish these on NCLA’s online archive:

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences