Judith Wright Poetry Prize ($9000)

Deadline extended: now closing Monday 2 December.

Judges: Ellen van Neerven, Michael Farrell and Toby Fitch.


About the prize

Established in 2007 and supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets seeks outstanding poetry by writers who have published no more than one collection of poems under their own name (i.e. writers who’ve had zero collections published, or one solo collection published). It remains one of the richest prizes for emerging poets, and is open to poets anywhere in the world.

In 2019, the major prize is $6000, with a second prize of $2000 and a third prize of $1000. All three winners will be published in the first issue of Overland’s print magazine of 2020.


The competition has been extended and is now closing 11.59 pm Monday 2 December 2019. Please read the entry guidelines below to confirm eligibility.

Entry fee: $12 for subscribers and $20 for non-subscribers.

**Another option is to take out one of our special prize subscriptions: for $56, you get discounted entry to the competition and a one-year discounted subscription to Overland (includes four print issues and the daily online magazine, invitations to subscriber events, and other opportunities and giveaways).

You may also be interested to read last year’s judges’ report and winning poems.



Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. They write fiction, poetry, plays and nonfiction. Ellen’s books include Comfort Food (UQP, 2016) and Heat and Light (UQP, 2014).

Michael Farrell is from Bombala in NSW and has lived in Melbourne since 1990. Recent books include I Love Poetry (Giramondo) and Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796–1945 (Palgrave Macmillan). Michael edits Flash Cove (flashcovemag@gmail.com), and works as a freelance reviewer and casual academic supervisor.

Toby Fitch is Overland’s poetry editor and the author of Rawshock (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012), which won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry, Jerilderies (Vagabond Press, 2014), and Bloomin’ Notions (Vagabond Press, 2016). His most recent collection is Where only the sky had hung before (Vagabond Press, 2019).



All three finalists will be published in Overland 238, autumn 2020.

  1. The award is open to poets who have had no more than one solo collection of their work commercially published: that is, by a publishing house with commercial distribution.
  2. The prize is open to Australian and international writers.
  3. Poems must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers.
  4. Poems that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible.
  5. The winning poems will be published in Overland.
  6. All submitted poems may also be considered for publication in Overland.
  7. Entries must be submitted electronically via the Overland submittable system.
  8. The name of the poet must not appear on the manuscript (including the header or footer) since all poems will be considered anonymously.
  9. Poems must be no more than 80 lines.
  10. Multiple entries are permitted, though a separate fee applies to each poem.
  11. An entry fee of $12 for Overland subscribers and $20 for non-subscribers will be charged. It is possible to become a subscriber and simultaneously enter the competition at a special price of $56.
  12. Please ensure you are satisfied with your poem before submitting. Poems that are withdrawn and subsequently resubmitted will incur a second fee.
  13. The competition has been extended and is now closing 11.59 pm Monday 2 December 2019.
  14. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  15. Overland staff and board members are prohibited from entering. All previous, current and ongoing contributors are eligible to enter.
  16. Winners will be announced in February 2020. Subscribe to the Overland email bulletin to receive announcements as to the results.


Enter the Judith Wright Poetry Prize as a:

new subscriber – $56

(Includes $12 entry fee and $44 subscription)
Poets can subscribe to Overland for one year (four issues) at a discounted rate, and enter the competition at the special subscriber rate. Take out a new subscription and enter the Judith Wright Poetry Prize.


current subscriber – $12

Current Overland subscribers enter the competition at the special subscriber rate of $12. Current subscribers enter the competition here.


non-subscriber – $20

Entry to the competition for non-subscribers is $20. Non-subscribers enter the competition here.


new MRF logo-2015The Judith Wright Poetry Prize is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation