Current and upcoming competitions

The Society operates a varied competitions programme throughout the year, with all trophies, certificates and cash prizes now awarded at the annual Spring Tea in London. The majority of our competitions are open to members only, although we intend to open up entry to selected competitions to friends and non-members from 2020. Full details of how to enter each competition are published in The Journal magazine and may also appear on our facebook and twitter pages.

Please direct any queries to the Competitions Co-ordinator


The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2021

Judge: Jacqueline Saphra

Closing date: 8 January 2021

Details to be released in the Summer Journal


Our Grand Prize Draw
Open to all current members and friends.

Introduce a new member (professional writer or beginner), male associate or friend for a chance to win our big prize bundle of FIFTEEN new and signed books, donated by our members and worth in excess of £100. From drama to romance, thrillers to poetry, our bundle has something for everyone. Either sponsor/sign the membership application form or make sure the applicant mentions your name when applying. The more people you introduce, the more entries into the draw you will earn. Membership forms downloadable here.

Competition closing date EXTENDED to 31 December 2020.


John Walter Salver 2020
Non-Fiction. Theme: Women.

Max 1500 words.

Judge: Jonathan Ungoed-Thomas

Closing date: 30 September 2020

Click here for details


Winner Takes All 2020
Theme: There's no business like show business.

Max 250 words.

Judge: Lynne Shelby

Closing date: 30 June 2020

One cash prize, equivalent to total entry fees received. Details in the New Year issue of The Journal.


Recent competition winners

  • The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2020
    Theme: Food

    Judged by:Kate Potts

    Winner:: Valerie Tigwell: Man in a black coat

    Second:: Dorothy Pope: Sugar Starved

    Third:: Vivien Brown : Banquets

  • The Floella Benjamin Trophy Competition 2019
    A ‘paperless’ competition, open to all.
    Theme: Children are our future.

    Judged by: Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, OBE,DL (Floella Benjamin)

    Winner: Helen Bartlett (writing as Ella Cook): A Monologue From a Child in Care – Boxes and Labels

    Shortlist: Meg Gardner, Marilyn Pemberton, Susan Wickham, Lynette Creswell, Jill Wilkinson, Denise Telford, Rob Nisbet, Laura Blake, Margaret Gallop, Rebekah Heaney, Celia Anderson.

    Read the winning entry here

  • John Walter Salver Competition 2019
    Short story. Theme: A surprise ending

    Judged by: Clare Cooper

    Winner: Sylvia Kent: Consequences

    Second: Patrick Forsyth: Branching Out

    Third: Beryl Fleming: The Orchid

  • Winner Takes All 2019
    Theme: A closing door

    Judged by: Pamela Payne

    Winner: Beryl P Brown

  • The Anniversary

    Judged by: Literary agent, Rebecca Ritchie

    Winner: Beryl Fleming: The Letter That Was Never Posted

    Second: Marilyn Pemberton: No Reminder Needed

    Third: Roberta Grieve: Gran’s Special Day

  • The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2019 Unthemed

    Judged by MIRIAM NASH

    Winner: Finola Holiday: Living Alone

    Second: Dorothy Pope: How Old

    Third: Claire Dyer: Poem in which you marry Marilyn Monroe instead of me

  • John Walter Salver Competition 2018: Article
    Theme: Something you don't know about me

    Judged by: Elaine Everest

    Winner: Sylvia Kent:
    My Secret Weapon Plus a Little Espionage

    Second: Pamela Payne:
    Up, Up and Away in Her Flying Machine

    Third: Beryl Fleming:
    The Artful Dodger

  • The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2018 Theme: Water

    Judged by Claire Dyer

    Winner: Valerie Tigwell:
    Philippa at the Outdoor Pool

    Second: Valerie Dunmore: Perseids

    Third: Finola Holiday: Reflections

  • Winner Takes All. December 2017 Theme: Red

    Judged by Margaret Mounsdon

    Winner: Pamela Payne: Red Alert!!!

  • The John Walter Salver Competition 2017: Short story. Theme: The weather

    Judged by Janet Gover

    Winner: Beryl Fleming: World in a Carrier Bag

    Second: Patrick Forsyth: Who’d be a Writer?

    Third: Julie Ratcliffe: A Chill in the Air

  • Writing for Children 2017. Unthemed

    Judged by Ann Evans

    Winner: Marilyn Pemberton: Target Practice

    Second: Beryl Fleming: The Nativity Play

    Third: Benita Cullingford: Hen Friends

    Highly Commended: Patrick Forsyth: Twice Upon a Time

  • The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2017. Unthemed

    Judged by Doris Corti

    Winner: Finola Holiday: Trees in Winter

    Second: Mary Rothwell: Whale Island

    Third: Finola Holiday: The Accident

    Highly Commended: Sylvia Goodman: Mourning Glory

  • The John Walter Salver Competition 2016. Travel article

    Judged by Solange Hando

    Winner: Beryl Fleming: White Silence

    Second: Mary Rensten: Dividing Doors

    Third: Mari Nicholson: After Katerina, New Orleans is Jazzin’ again

  • Winner Takes All: ‘Take Six Words’ Competition. December 2016

    Judging panel chaired by Edwina McPherson, assisted by Kay Seeley and Rob Nisbet

    Winner: Margaret Mounsdon: Weeping Willow

  • William Shakespeare Themed Crossword competition 2016.

    Winner: Roberta Grieve

  • Winner Takes All: ‘Opening Lines’ Competition. March 2016

    Judging panel chaired by Edwina McPherson, assisted by Sheila McAdams and Antonia Davis

    Winner: Beryl Fleming: A Handful of Petals

  • The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2016. Theme: Love

    Judged by Cathy Galvin

    Winner: Finola Holiday: Lines Written on the Eve of a Departure for Siberia

    Highly Commended: Doris Corti: Strange Delight

    Highly Commended: Patricia Francis: Ablutionary Call

  • The John Walter Salver Competition 2015: Short story. Theme: The Present

    Judged by Wendy Clarke

    Winner: Caroline Auckland: Patterns

    Second: Jane Lockyer-Willis: Undelivered

    Third: Margaret Mounsdon: Flowers for the Teacher

    Highly Commended: Valerie Dunmore: The Present…?

  • The Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry 2015. Unthemed

    Judged by Katherine Gallagher

    Winner: Valerie Tigwell: Rare Visit to Dad in Belfast

    Second: Valerie Dunmore: The Passion of the Dance

    Third: Margaret Gallop: Hell manned

    Commended: Margaret Gallop: Voice of a Yorkshire Ghost

    Commended: Mary Rothwell: Rhyader

    Commended: Dorothy Pope: Denial

SWWJ competition rules

Please read these rules carefully. Failure to comply could lead to your entry being invalidated.

  1. SWWJ competitions are open to Full, Associate, New Writer and Student members only. Unless specifically stated, Friends of the Society, Honorary members and non-members are not eligible to enter.

  2. Please ensure that any maximum word or line length set for the competition is strictly adhered to. Shortlisted entrants may be asked to supply an electronic copy of their entry so word count can be verified before prizes are awarded.

  3. Your membership number (NOT your name) and the title of your work should appear on every page of your entry. Please number the pages.

  4. Please type or print on one side of plain white A4 paper only. No handwritten entries please.

  5. Please use double spacing for all prose entries. Poems may be spaced as the poet requires.

  6. Every entry must have a detachable cover sheet showing the title, your name, membership number, address, and email address and/or phone number so we can contact you.

  7. Entries must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Cheques to be made payable to SWWJ. A maximum of three entries per person to each competition is allowed. Sending cash is discouraged

  8. Entries received after the closing date may be disregarded with no return of fee.

  9. If you would like to receive a copy of the judge’s report, please also enclose a self-addressed envelope of suitable size and bearing the correct postage.

  10. Entries MUST not be previously published or have been read or performed in any public domain up to the closing date. They should not be currently entered into any other competition.

  11. Please do not send your entry by recorded/special delivery or registered post. Enclose a stamped self-addressed postcard if you wish us to acknowledge its safe receipt.

  12. Keep a copy of your work as the Society cannot be held responsible for the loss of your entry, in the post or otherwise. Manuscripts will not be returned after judging.

  13. Cash prizes for winners and runners up vary per competition and will be as advertised.

  14. In the event of a large number of entries, or if the judge requests it, the Society reserves the right to appoint a shortlisting panel.

  15. Please keep the prize-giving date free in your diary and book a ticket to attend if at all possible. If you are a winner, we would like to congratulate you and present your prize to you in person!

  • 2019 Anniversary competition judge, literary agent Rebecca Ritchie
  • 2019 Poetry judge Miriam Nash
  • Sylvia Kent receives the 2018 John Walter Salver trophy from judge Elaine Everest
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About SWWJ

The Society aims to encourage literary achievement, to uphold professional standards, to promote social contact with fellow writers and to defend the dignity and prestige of the writing profession in all its aspects.

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