Deadline approaching for Stanley Spencer poetry competition

Staff reporter

The deadline is fast approaching for poets – both established and aspiring – to enter a prestigious national competition about painter Stanley Spencer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cookham Festival.

Entries close at the end of September so judging can be completed in time for the landmark 2017 festival and for an anthology of all shortlisted poems to be published.

The festival has linked up with Reading University, the Stanley Spencer Gallery and the Two Rivers Press to give the competition national profile.

Chairman Malcolm Stork said: “The festival has a proud history of showcasing a very wide range of arts events and of writers, artists and performers, but this is the first time that we have moved onto the national stage and we are proud this should be in the area of poetry, linked to Cookham’s great artist Sir Stanley Spencer.”

The prizes on offer reflect the national stature of the competition. 'The Cookham Festival Don and Jill Cawthorne Poetry Prize' is the main award and carries a prize of £2,500. It is sponsored in memory of villagers Don and Jill Cawthorne who were staunch supporters of the festival during most of its 50 years. There are two runners-up prizes of £500; one of them is 'The Cookham Festival Maidenhead Advertiser Poetry Award'.

Committee member Mike Clarke said: “The Advertiser has always been a great supporter of local initiatives and it is most encouraging they are to work with us in developing the Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition.

“Without the support of the local press, events such as the Cookham Festival, providing a packed two-week programme of arts events, find it difficult to thrive and this applies in particular to a major single event such as the poetry competition.”

The poetry competition is open to anyone, from anywhere.

Entrants can submit as many poems as they like. Entrants must be over 18, poems must be on the subject of Stanley Spencer, must be written in English, or a recognised English dialect, and must be no longer than 54 lines. Full details of the competition are on

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