The Sylvia Plath Prize & 'After Sylvia' Anthology

The book cover for 'After Sylvia: Poems and Essays in Celebration of Sylvia Plath'
'After Sylvia: Poems and Essays in Celebration of Sylvia Plath', edited by Sarah Corbett and Ian Humphreys

The Sylvia Plath Prize

Love Sylvia? Love writing poetry? Why not write a poem inspired by the themes Plath was drawn to in her work? You could win £1000 and publication.

The Sylvia Plath Prize is a new international poetry competition offering cash prizes (including that top prize of £1000) and publication in After Sylvia (Nine Arches Press). Each poem you enter should respond to one of five Plathian themes:

  • Rebirth

  • Womanhood

  • Nature

  • Magic

  • Mothers & Fathers

Five icons each inside the shape of a tulip. A triskele represents rebirth, a Venus symbol represents womanhood, a leaf symbolises nature, a pentagram denotes magic, and a stylised family unit of parents and a child representing mothers & fathers
The five central themes of the anthology: rebirth, womanhood, nature, magic, and mothers & fathers

The competition opens for entries from October 27 (Plath’s birthday) to December 31 (midnight, UK time). Alongside a crisp cheque, the authors of the top three poems will receive publication in After Sylvia, an anthology of poems and essays celebrating Sylvia Plath’s legacy and work. The book will be published by Nine Arches Press in the autumn of 2022 to honour with the 90th anniversary of the poet’s birth. Leading UK poets and academics have been commissioned to produce work for the book.

Butcher’s Dog guest editor Ian Humphreys is judging the competition along with fellow Hebden Bridge poet Sarah Corbett. “Sarah and I are very excited to see how poets respond creatively to the five themes,” said Ian, who is producing the After Sylvia project, which is supported by an Arts Council England Lottery Funded Project Grant. “We’re hoping to discover and showcase some exciting new voices.”

Highly Commended poems from the prize will also be published in the anthology, as will the winning poem from a sister competition organised by The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network. Entry fees for The Sylvia Plath Prize are £5 per poem – and less (per poem) when you enter more than one. Twenty-five FREE ‘no questions asked’ entries (one poem) have been reserved for poets on low incomes or those experiencing financial hardship.

The After Sylvia anthology – which is co-edited by Ian and Sarah – sits at the heart of the After Sylvia project. Alongside the two competitions, supporting events include workshops, library displays, and launches in West Yorkshire, Manchester, London and online. Partners include The Poetry Society and the Manchester Poetry Library.

The book’s official launch will take place at the world’s first Sylvia Plath Literary Festival in Hebden Bridge, October 21-23, 2022.

For more details on The Sylvia Plath Prize, including rules, Terms and Conditions and how to enter, please visit