gtown Book Festival Poetry Prize winner 2022 Julie Laing. She stands in front of the green and white Wigtown Book Festival logo.

Wigtown Poetry Prize 2023

Poets from around the world are being invited to enter The Wigtown Poetry Prize, an annual celebration of poets and poems in the country’s three indigenous languages.


Poets from around the world are being invited to enter The Wigtown Poetry Prize, an annual celebration of poets and poems in the country’s three indigenous languages.

The organisers have also revealed the list of judges for this year’s competition – which will have its award ceremony at Wigtown Book Festival, which runs from 22 September to 1 October.

Entries for the £1,500 Wigtown Poetry Prize (and £200 runners up award) are open to work in English, Scots or Scots Gaelic.

There are other categories specifically for Scots and Scottish Gaelic.

There is also the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize, (named in memory of one of Scotland’s foremost literary talents) which recognises a collection of work rather than individual poems.

The Fresh Voices Award is for poets living in, or from, Dumfries and Galloway who have never professionally published a full length collection.

The 2023 judges are:

-Wigtown Poetry Prize and Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize - Donald S Murray (author and poet)

- Scots prize - Lennie Pennie (Scots language poet)

- Gaidhlig prize - Rody Gorman (renowned for his Scottish Gaelic poetry)

 - Fresh Voices Award - Susi Briggs (author, poet, storyteller and musician)

Nicholas Walker, Wigtown Poetry Prize Group Chair, said: “The Wigtown Poetry Prize has a worldwide reputation as the champion of poetry in Scotland’s three indigenous languages.

“That’s reinforced by the quality of the entries, the excellence of our judges and the fabulous support we receive from organisations and individuals dedicated to Scotland, to promoting poetry and to strengthening our languages.

“As one of the UK’s best-established competitions, it has been the launchpad for many successful careers. And this year we are once again looking forward to celebrating the skill, imagination and insight of writers from Scotland and all around the globe.”

The Wigtown Poetry Prize is organised by the Wigtown Festival Company in association with The Gaelic Books Council, Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, Saltire Society, Scottish Poetry Library and StAnza – Scotland's international poetry festival.

Alison Lang, Director of the Scottish Books Council, said: “Tha an fharpais seo a’ toirt cothrom air leth do sgrìobhadairean bàrdachd, agus tha cliù na duais seo air togail a thoirt do bhàird aig diofar ìrean sna dreuchdan aca. Tha sinn moiteil a bhith a’ toirt taic don dhuais Ghàidhlig a-rithist, agus tha sinn an dòchas gun cluinn sinn guthan ùra inntinneach am-bliadhna.”

“The competition provides an exceptional opportunity for writers of poetry, and this prestigious prize has encouraged many poets at various stages of their careers. We are proud to support the Gaelic prize once again and we hope to discover some exciting new voices this year.”

Sarah Mason, Executive Director of the Saltire Society, said: “The Saltire Society is pleased to be sponsoring the Wigtown Scots Poetry Competition in 2023. The strength and importance of Scotland's languages is at the heart of Scottish culture and identities. Through prizes and projects such as this, we are ensuring our languages and the works in our languages are recognised and continue to flourish.

“It is fantastic to see Scots language poet Lennie Pennie as the Scots poetry judge this year and we are looking forward to seeing what new works the 2023 prize shines a licht on. Wigtown Book Festival have worked hard to ensure these prizes continued, even during the toughest or times and we are grateful to them for their hard work.”

A winner of one or more categories in this year’s competition will be selected at the discretion of StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival and Wigtown Festival Company to read at its 2024 event.

The Wigtown Poetry Prize is organised by the Wigtown Festival Company. Those entering Wigtown Scottish Gaelic and Wigtown Scots categories can also submit their poems to be considered for the Wigtown Prize free of charge.

The competition is open for entries and details can be found at The competition closes on 31 May, with a prizegiving at Wigtown Book Festival in the autumn.

Notes to editors

About the Wigtown Poetry Prize

Founded in 2005 and refreshed and rebranded in 2019, Wigtown Poetry Prize welcomes entries from poets writing in English wherever they may live. Separate categories celebrate the best of Scottish Gaelic and Scots language poetry, a special category acknowledges a rising talent in Dumfries & Galloway, and a pamphlet prize is named in memory of Alastair Reid - local poet and one of Scotland's foremost literary figures.


Email: [email protected]

The 2023 Prizes

 - Wigtown Prize: £1,500, runner-up £200

 - Wigtown Scots Prize: £500, runner-up £200 (supported by the Saltire Society

 - Wigtown Gaidhlig Prize: £500, runner-up £200 (supported by The Gaelic Books Council)

 - Dumfries & Galloway Fresh Voice Award: A package of professional support including mentoring by Wigtown Festival Company and a retreat hosted by Moniack Mhor Writers Centre.

 - Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize, a pamphlet of your work set by Gerry Cambridge.

This year’s competition takes place in association with:

 - The Gaelic Books Council

 - Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre

 - Saltire Society

 - Scottish Poetry Library

 - StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival

About The Gaelic Books Council

Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (The Gaelic Books Council) is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic books in Scotland and internationally. Established in 1968, Comhairle nan Leabhraichean is a registered charity and receives support from Creative Scotland and from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

About The Saltire Society

The Saltire Society seeks to encourage everything that might improve the quality of life in Scotland. It works to preserve all that is best in Scottish traditions and to encourage new developments which can strengthen and enrich the country’s cultural life. It acts as a catalyst, celebrant and commentator through an annual programme of awards, lectures, debates and projects. Founded in 1936 is a non-political independent charity with membership branches throughout Scotland.

About StAnza

StAnza's mission is to celebrate poetry, to bring poetry to audiences and to enable encounters with poetry. The organisation works all year round to deliver poetry events and projects in Scotland and beyond. Its main focus is the annual festival in St Andrews each spring and it is recognised as one of the leading poetry festivals in the UK and Europe. StAnza also actively promotes readings in foreign or minority languages and has featured poets reading in many of the national languages of Europe, as well as in regional languages and dialects. We regularly include Gaelic and Scots language poets.

For media information and interview requests contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or [email protected]