Verbal is launching a new poetry competition, looking for new pieces on the theme of ‘resilience’.

The prize has been made possible through a generous, anonymous donation as a tribute to Seamus Burns, father of Derry-Londonderry writer Mark Burns.

Submissions will engage with an audience aged 18-24, dealing with the themes of resilience and explore how individuals adapt to overcome setback in their lives. 

The winning entries will be published in The Honest Ulsterman, with the authors invited to read their poems at Youth 19 ‘We are Poets’ initiative which will take place in November. 

The winning entries will also be used in Verbal’s innovative ‘Reading Rooms’ programme, providing a positive intervention through the literary arts to people’s health and well-being.

Reading Rooms serves a range of client groups, including children and young people, community groups, older people and ex-young offenders.  

Using ‘reading aloud’ and ‘shared readings’, the programme encourages participants to share personal experiences from their past, sparking memories, stimulating new thoughts and provoking conversation related to short stories and poems provided by a trained facilitator. 

Prize Fund:

1st place - £250

2nd place – £150

3rd place - £100 


The competition will be judged by Gregory McCartney, editor of The Honest Ulsterman and Abridged, Poetry NI’s Colin Dardis and Verbal’s senior Editor, Danni Glover. 


Terms and Conditions:

The competition is free to enter. Only one piece per entrant.

The poem must be the original work of the entrant.

Send your poem as a .doc or .docx attachment to: [email protected]

Please include your contact details (name, address, and contact number) in your email. 

By submitting your poem, you give permission to the competition organisers to reproduce any winning pieces on their website and social media, and use the text in future Reading Rooms sessions run by Verbal Arts Centre.

Deadline for entries: Midnight, Friday 20th September, 2019.