Roger McGough unveiled as Plough Poetry Prize judge

The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington will see its 2021 Plough Poetry Prize judged by Roger McGough

The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington will see its 2021 Plough Poetry Prize judged by Roger McGough - Credit: Archant/Nick Wright Photography

The Plough Arts Centre has announced that one of the nation’s most well-known and best-loved poets will be the judge of The 2021 Plough Poetry Prize. 

The announcement by the Great Torrington arts charity on Tuesday, January 19 launched this year’s competition, with the deadline for entries set at March 31. 

The Plough Poetry Prize is now in its 18th year. In 2019, the last year it was able to run, the competition received 1,425 entries from all over the world, and the winner was Heidi Williamson, for her poem ‘With a rootless lily held in front of him’. 

The Prize has always attracted high profile poets to act as judge, with two former poet laureates – Sir Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy – among the list of past judges. 

Entries can be on any topic and can be up to 40 lines in length. 

There is no age limit on entrants, and the competition receives entries from children and adults of all ages. 

The first prize is £1,000, plus feedback from Roger McGough himself. 

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This year’s competition was delayed from last year due to the Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Reflecting on a difficult 12 months, Plough’s director Richard Wolfenden-Brown said: “In all the strangeness and difficulty of the last year, we expect there was also a lot of creativity.  

“In amongst all the poems written during lockdown, there may well be the next Plough Prize winner.” 

Mr McGough added: “I am looking forward to being released from my self-inflicted lockdown, to run into a field and get behind The Plough.  

“I expect the ploughshares to turn up poetic gems by the sackful.” 

Described by former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy as 'the patron saint of poetry’, Roger McGough is one of Britain’s best-loved poets for both adults and children.  

He is the presenter of Poetry Please on BBC Radio 4. He was awarded an OBE for services to poetry in 1997 and a CBE in 2004.  

As well as the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, McGough’s many accolades include numerous literary awards and honorary academic degrees. 

More information on The 2021 Plough Poetry Prize, and the online entry form, can be found at https://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/poetry-prize

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