We invite you to submit entries for the University’s three writing prizes, the Grierson Verse Prize, Sloan Prize, and Lewis Edwards Memorial Prize. These prizes have been established to recognise and encourage our students’ remarkable talent in prose and verse.
About the prizes
The competitions are open to original and previously unpublished pieces and give our students a chance to explore and showcase their creativeness.
Each prize has its own eligibility and form requirements detailed below. Please read these and the submission guidelines carefully before submitting your entry.
This year's prizes will be judged by Ryan Van Winkle, our Writer in Residence.
This prize, estimated value £900, is awarded to a matriculated student of the University of Aberdeen or the University of Edinburgh.
It is given for a poem or series of poems, using any recognised verse form other than free verse, totalling no more than 80 lines on a given theme. When submitting your entry, please note which form you used in your email and in the document above your poem.
The theme for 2023 is "the future", and any valid interpretation of the theme is acceptable.
It was an honour to receive the 2022 Grierson Verse Prize for my sestina What You Wish For. The theme was Fragility, which pushed me to explore the layers of fragility that can exist within a poem: broken structures, fractioned words, flawed characters. It's a joy to be surrounded by writers who help me continue to improve my work.
|2022||Olivia Thomakos (special mentions: Beth Grainger, Carl Alexandersson and Tim Tim Cheng)|
|2021||Maria Henry (special mentions: Amy Doyle, Kiefer Holland and Adam Vaughn)|
|2020||Rhiannon Auriol Williams (special mentions: Jane Jia Hui, Hayley Bernier and Alex Aldred)|
|2019||Alycia Pirmohamed (special mentions: Roshni Gallagher, Hattie Atkins, and Sarah Stewart)|
This prize was established in memory of Lewis Edwards, who died while a student of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. It is open to any matriculated undergraduate student of the University.
The award, £1,400, is offered for a composition in English verse (including free verse) or prose (fiction). Poetry submissions must be no more than 80 lines, and prose (fiction) submissions must be no longer than 3,000 words.
I would wholeheartedly exhort anyone thinking of entering one of the University’s creative writing prizes to do so. You have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain: I was over the moon when I heard that I had won. More than this, however, the process of putting a piece together for competitive consideration forces you to look more objectively at your creative writing and editing approaches. Like all new experiences, it challenged me to develop my current ways of thinking and inspired me to keep seeking fresh paths to continued improvement in the future.
|2022||Armaan Verma (special mentions: Hattie Atkins, Siru and Ailsa Fraser)|
|2021||Jamie Perriam (special mentions: Murdoch Stanfield, Millie Graham, Ally Shilson and Armaan Verma)|
|2020||Albertine Clarke (special mention: Armaan Verma and Millie Riddell)|
Snigdha Koirala (special mention: Polly Smythe)
This prize, estimated value £1,500, is awarded annually for a prose or verse composition in Lowland Scots vernacular to a matriculated student of the University of Edinburgh, or to a graduate of the University of Edinburgh of less than three years’ standing.
You should include a statement about the particular dialect chosen as accuracy plays a big part in determining the award (along with the literary and imaginative interest of the composition).
Writing in reflection of the tongue with which I speak is a liberating act and to have that valued by the Sloan Prize is wonderful. Losing track of the language you grew up speaking when it's so rarely venerated is easy, so finding ways to express that outwith speech among pals truly is important.
|2022||Jo Higgs (special mentions: Dorothy Lawrenson, Heather Dunnett and Declan Kelly)|
|2021||Alice Orr (special mention: Alex Day)|
|2020||Kirsty Souter (special mention: Declan Kelly)|
Charles Lang (special mentions: Laurie Chetwood and James McPherson)
Dominic Hale and Zoe Ramsey
Past winning and short-listed entries
Browse winners from recent years on our Writing Prizes blog. Immerse yourself in their stories, and learn more about the people behind the words and what inspires them.