19 October 2019 - 2 November 2019


Poet of the Year 2018

Derek Sellen wins Poet of the Year 2018



Clare Proctor, Steve Xerri, Marilyn Donovan, Luigi Marchini, Derek Sellen, Alice West, Tomi Adegbayibi, Kat Peddie

On 4 October poets and poetry enthusiasts gathered at the Gulbenkian Theatre at the University of Kent to hear the shortlisted poems from the Poet of the Year Competition, and to find out who was the winner of the University of Kent Prize and the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year.

From the 406 entries received 37 poems were chosen for the long list and these are published in an anthology, copies of which are available from the Festival Office.  A shortlist of  15 poems was  then selected by the judges and the poets were invited to read their work at the Awards Evening, from these the winners were chosen. 

It was a superb evening of lovely verse from some very talented poets, with pertinent comments by the judges on each poem.

The Competition is generously supported by the School of English at the University of Kent who donate the University of Kent Prize of £200 for the winner, £100 for second and £50 for third places, £25 for the People’s Choice and the Best-Read Poem receives a bottle of sparkling wine courtesy of Wine Underground.  

Look out for details of the 2019 Poet of the Year Competition which will be launched in March.



Poet of the Year -  Derek Sellen for Feeding the Labyrinth

Joint Second - Marilyn Donovan for St Hildeburg Goes Skinny Dipping With Grey Seals

                       - Clare Proctor for This Woman Wears a Green Dress

Best Read - Alice West for Ten Admissions

People’s Choice - Tomi Adegbayibi for Mate De Coca-Coca Tea


Full shortlist                      


Michael Loveday

Coming to Terms with My Father

Michael Loveday

Picnic with Lorca

Greta Ross

Mate De Coca-Coca Tea

Tomi Adegbayibi

Unsafe spaces

Lucy Dixcart


Greta Ross

Bryobia Praetiosa

Jack Faricy

St Hildeburg Goes Skinny Dipping with Grey Seals

Marilyn Donovan

Purple Heron

Marilyn Donovan

A Young Charles 1 'also sat for a now lost portrait by Velazquez

Dave Simpson

Feeding the Labyrinth

Derek Sellen

Ten Admissions

Alice West


Charlotte Cornell


Estelle Price

This Woman Wears a Green Dress

Clare Proctor

Join our mailing list