The Local Word Poetry Prize 2024

The Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) and Deakin University (DU) are pleased to present 2024 Local Word Poetry Prize. This is the second time this prize has been offered.

Entries open at 9.00am on Monday 1 April, 2024 and close at 5.00pm, Monday 1 July, 2024.

Entries of up to 75 lines are welcome from emerging and established writers in poetry. 
Please note, only one entry permitted per person.

The winner of the prize will receive:

● A prize of $2000*
● A one-hour mentoring session with a DU writing practitioner.
● Publication on GRLC’s website and announcement in GRLC’s e-newsletter

Commended writers will receive:
● A prize of $250*
● Publication on GRLC’s website and announcement in GRLC’s e-newsletter

*VISA or Mastercard gift card (can be used anywhere, just like cash)

Submit your entry here

Key Dates:

Thursday 21 March, 2024 Prize announced at World Poetry Day event at Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.
Monday1 April, 2024 Submissions Open at 9.00am
Monday 1 July, 2024 Submissions Close at 5.00pm
By Monday 29 July, 2024 Judging 1st Round period (4 weeks) – longlist produced
By Monday 12 August, 2024 Final Judging (2 weeks) – shortlist & winner decided
Saturday 24 August 2024 Winner announced at Local Word Writers Festival event at Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.


Submission Guidelines

1. Entries must be a single poem of no longer than 75 lines in length.
2. Stanza breaks must be clearly indicated.
3. The pages should be numbered.
4. Entries are welcome from living poets aged over sixteen and residents of Australia.
5. Each entry must be an original work by an individual and written in English.
6. Entries must be typed and double-spaced. Please do not include your name anywhere on the submission.
7. Entrants must submit their entries by using the online entry form (no printed or emailed entries will be accepted). Complete one form per entry. Entries submitted without the completed entry form will not be processed.
8. There is a maximum of one entry per individual.
9. Entries are free of charge.
10. Late entries will not be accepted. Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) and Deakin University (DU) take no responsibility for lost or delayed entries.

Terms and Conditions

1. The Submission Guidelines form part of the terms and conditions.
2. Entries will be deemed ineligible if they are under contract to another publisher or broadcaster. Previously published, prize-winning or broadcast poems will not be accepted (previous online appearances constitute prior publication).
3. While the entrant may submit the same work in other prizes, the entry material must not have previously been awarded first place in any other prize. If, during the judging of this prize, the entry material wins, or is shortlisted for, another prize, the entrant must notify GRLC as their entry ceases to be eligible.
4. Entrants warrant that their submission is their own original work; that they are the sole author and owner of the copyright in the entry; that the material has not been previously licensed for exclusive use in any form in any territory; that the material does not infringe any existing copyright or licence or any other third-party rights.
5. Entries that are deemed to be works of plagiarism will be disqualified.
6. Translations are not eligible.
7. All judging is completely anonymous.
8. Permanent staff of GRLC and continuing staff at DU are not eligible to enter.
9. An announcement of shortlisted entries will be made on the GRLC website, and shortlisted entrants will be notified.
10. Shortlisted entrants agree to take part in events and media activities to promote the Prize, including having your photograph taken at the prize ceremony or providing a photograph if you are unable to attend. If your entry is shortlisted, you grant GRLC and DU permission to use part of your entry for the purpose of promoting you as a shortlisted entrant in media promotions/media releases.
11. The shortlisted entrants will be notified in strict confidence, but must agree to keep this news confidential until the announcement of the winning entry.
12. The judges have the discretion to divide the prize equally between authors of entries they consider to be of equal merit, should the situation arise. In this instance, the prize money will be split evenly and a mentoring session will be awarded to both winners.
13. The judges may decide not to award the prize if they do not believe any of the entries to be of a suitable standard.
14. The mentoring session must be completed within 12 months of the awarding of the prize. The meeting may occur at a GRLC Library, a Deakin University campus, or via phone or Zoom, depending on the winner’s preference and location, and in consultation with the relevant Deakin staff member.
15. Copyright of the winning and commended entries remains under the ownership of The Entrants, with an implied licence granted to The Organisers, permitting:

• Limited use of the winning and commended entries for promotional purposes only – the works will be published on the Geelong Regional Libraries website (, and a news story about the winning entries will be included in the Geelong Regional Libraries e-newsletter with live links back to the works published on the website.
• The implied licence is limited to five (5) years and is non-exclusive, allowing Entrants to commercialise their works as they choose.
• The Organisers guarantee the Entrants that their work will not be used for commercial purposes. 
• Entrants should note that the Copyright Act automatically provides some limited exceptions for libraries to reproduce works for purposes such as preservation, archiving and to make works accessible for people with disability.

16. The Organisers will adequately acknowledge the Entrants’ moral rights by including their name and title of the work wherever it is reproduced.
17. The Organisers will treat all Entrants’ work with integrity and not make any changes or alterations without prior written consent.
18. Any Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP), as notified by The Entrant, will be appropriately attributed and The Organisers will not publish or use ICIP material in the works in a way that is considered degrading or offensive by the Indigenous communities and custodians of that cultural material.
19. Entries will be independently and anonymously judged. The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Application requirements

Please take note of the application requirements carefully, as GRLC is unable to accept entries from or notify entrants that do not follow all the terms and conditions correctly:

1. Each entry will be judged by readers of English.
2. Each entry must include the title of the work in the header.
3. Each entry must not include the name of the applicant.
4. Entries must not contain any dedications.
5. The application must be submitted online through this link (no printed or emailed applications will be accepted)
6. Entries should preferably be a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF.
7. Entrants will receive automatic confirmation of receipt of their entry ON SCREEN, no further confirmation will be provided.

2023 Winner Announced!

Geelong Regional Libraries and Deakin University are very pleased to announce the winner of the 2023 Local Word Poetry Prize is Scott-Patrick Mitchell, of Perth, Western Australia, for their entry titled “The Toy Ark”.

Scott-Patrick receives first place prizemoney of $2,000 plus a one-hour mentoring session with a Deakin University writing practitioner.

Scott-Patrick’s entry was selected as the overall winner from a shortlist of four entries, with the remaining shortlisted entries receiving a Highly Commended award and prize money of $250 each.

The recording of the prize award ceremony, held at the Local Word Writers Festival on Saturday 26 August, 2023, will be available to view on the Library’s YouTube Channel soon.

Final results:




Scott-Patrick Mitchell

The Toy Ark


Carolyn Leach-Paholski

The Heart is an Only Child

  Highly Commended

Karla Portch

Half a Brain

  Highly Commended

Katy Symmons

David Hockney Dreamscape

  Highly Commended

The shortlist was selected from a longlist of 12 entries by our judging panel comprised of Vanessa Schernickau, Geelong Regional Library Corporation’s CEO, Professor David McCooey of the Faculty of Arts and Education in the School of Communication & Creative Arts at Deakin University, and Geelong Regional Library’s Virtual Writer in Residence, Louis Glazzard (from the United Kingdom). All judging was carried out anonymously.

Judge David McCooey said “On behalf of the judging panel, I would like to commend these poems, which moved across a wide range of subjects, styles, forms, and tones—from the traditional to the experimental, from the profoundly elegiac to the energetically comic.”

Of Scott-Patrick’s poem, David said “The Toy Ark is a stunning prose poem that brings together the climate emergency with history, both ancient and modern. Its attention to the sonic condition of poetry, and its richly allusive texture, makes for a poem that gives up new riches upon each successive reading.”

In addition to winning this prize, Scott-Patrick has recently published their debut poetry collection, Clean, with Upswell Poetry and the book has gone on to be shortlisted for two major literary awards, the WA Premier's Book Awards 2023 (Book of the Year) and the Victorian Premier's Awards 2023 (Poetry).

Congratulations to Scott-Patrick, Carolyn, Karla and Katy and thank you to everyone who entered the Local Word Poetry Prize!

The Local Word Poetry Prize 2023 Longlist

(in alphabetical order by surname)

John Bartlett Days are Silk
Sarah Bennett Sincerely
Dave Drayton Summer of Cricket
Carolyn Leach-Paholski The Heart is an Only Child
Tim Loveday I watch a cat choke / call it [redacted]
Isabella G. Mead Becoming a leafy seadragon on the birth of my daughter
Steven Pearman What can I say of your skin?
Karla Portch Half a Brain
Scott-Patrick Mitchell The Toy Ark
Emma Stapleton Personal Questions & Perfect Strangers
Katy Symmons David Hockney Dreamscape
Simon Wang On the Night Plane


Congratulations to all longlisted entrants!