Call for submissions: The Singapore National Poetry Competition

The Singapore National Poetry Competition is calling for the submission of previously unpublished poems from entrants who fall under one of the following categories: (1) junior: 13 to 18 years old (2) senior: over 18 years old. This competition is open to permanent residents and citizens of Singapore. Submissions have to be in English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil .

The theme this year is “Home, Nationhood and Identity.”

The top three entries, unranked and chosen on the basis of merit, in each language and entrant category will be announced at an awards ceremony during the Singapore National Poetry Festival in July 2015. The top poets will be invited to read their poems at the Singapore National Poetry Festival. Their works will also be featured on poetry display walls at public parks and libraries. The same poems and other works of merit will be published in an anthology.

Each participant is encouraged to submit his or her best poem, which should be unpublished (not posted on the Internet) and not submitted simultaneously to another competition. He or she must submit one poem, written in English, Mandarin, Malay or Tamil, and up to 40 lines in length, by midnight on 29 May 2015 to in pdf format. For entries in Chinese, Malay and Tamil, please also provide an English translation of your poem.

The Singapore National Poetry Competition


  1. The competition is open to permanent residents and citizens of Singapore.
  2. The closing date of the competition is midnight on May 29, 2015.
  3. Each participant is encouraged to submit his or her best poem, which should be unpublished andnot submitted simultaneously to another competition. If more than one work is submitted, the first submission will be the only one eligible.
  4. Entries must be written in any of the island’s official languages: English, Chinese, Malay or

Tamil. Non-English entries must be accompanied by an English translation. This is to

facilitate appreciation in poetry for the non-English languages.

  1. All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title). Entries

must be on an interpretation of home, nationhood or identity. Send your entry at or before midnight on 29 May 2015to in pdf format.

  1. All entries will be evaluated anonymously by the judges.
  2. Entries must be accompanied by ANNEX B, which is to be duly and factually completed.
  3. Entries will not be returned, so keep your own copy.
  4. Under no circumstances can changes be made to poems once submitted.
  5. Entries made via the website will receive a confirmation of submission.
  6. The Singapore National Poetry Competition staff will be unable to confirm the content of documents submitted online, so please ensure you send the correct file.
  7. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, no entry deserves a prize.
  8. The judges’ decision is final and neither the judges nor the Singapore National Poetry Competition staff will enter into any correspondence.
  9. No current member of the Singapore National Poetry Competition’s steering committee is eligible to enter the Singapore National Poetry Competition.
  10. Poems must be the original work of the entrant.
  11. Entries should be typed and printed in black ink on A4 paper at a minimum type size of 12pt. Poems may span two pages but pages must not be double-sided. Entries can be double- or single-spaced. Please do not staple pages.
  12. Entries must be submitted in Word and pdf files.
  13. There is no contest fee.
  14. Top winners will be notified by the start of July 2015 and invited to an award ceremony at the end of July 2015. All winners will be required to provide a biography and photograph.
  15. The copyright of each poem remains with the writer. However, writers of the top poems, by entering the competition, grant the Singapore National Poetry Competition the right to publish and/or broadcast their poems. Use of the poems elsewhere for one year from July 2015 is subject to permission from the Singapore National Poetry Competition.

This competition is a feature of the Singapore National Poetry Festival (NPF), which offers a weekend programme ofkeynote addresses, displays of poetry and interpretations in the other arts, workshops, a symposium and readings by both established as well as emerging poets. Among the NPF’s organizers are Cultural Medallion winner Edwin Thumboo, Aaron Lee, Tan Chee Lay, Azhar Ibrahim, K. Kanagalatha as well as educators from Tanjong Katong Secondary School, National Junior College, LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore. The NPF aims to promote literary excellence in a multilingual, multicultural, multi-generational setting for both poets and poetry enthusiasts.

NPF’s opening night programme will be from 6pm to 9pm  on 24th July 2015 (Friday). The venue is the LASALLE College of the Arts at 1 McNally Street, Singapore 187940. Registration for the 300-odd people comprising students and the general public will begin soon.

NPF aims also to develop an appreciation of the richness of the written and spoken word in Singapore. It will run from July 24 to 26, 2015.  Festival admission is free of charge.  Youth-targeted activities include level-specific readings, workshops, and the launch of a printed anthology of the winning submissions to the Singapore National Poetry Competition.  Some festival details are found at the NPF’s beta website at

This project is supported in part by the National Arts Council, the National Parks Board, the National Library Board, LASALLE College of the Arts, Gardens by the Bay, National Junior College, and Tanjong Katong Secondary School.