The Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) and Deakin University are pleased to present The Geelong Regional Libraries & Deakin University Local Word Poetry Prize.

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 Deakin University 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

Entries open at 9.00am on Saturday 1 April and close at 5.00pm, Saturday 1 July, 2023

Submit your entry here

Key Dates:

Tuesday 21 March, 2023 Prize announced at World Poetry Day event at Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.
Saturday 1 April, 2023 Submissions Open at 9.00am
Saturday 1 July, 2023 Submissions Close at 5.00pm (13 weeks)
By Saturday 29 July, 2023 Judging 1st Round period (4 weeks) – longlist produced
By Saturday 12 August, 2023 Final Judging (2 weeks) – shortlist & winner decided
Saturday 26 August or Sunday 27 August, 2023 (depending on program) Winner announced at Local Word Writers Festival event at Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.


2023 Local Word Poetry Prize Guidelines


Entry deadline

1. Entries for the 2023 Local Word Poetry Prize will be accepted from 9.00am Saturday 1 April, 2023 until 5.00pm Saturday 1 July, 2023. Late entries will not be accepted. GRLC and DU take no responsibility for lost or delayed entries.


1. The winner will receive a digital or plastic VISA or Mastercard gift card to the value of AU$2,000 (can be used anywhere, just like cash).
2. Shortlisted/Commended poets (except the winner) will each receive a digital or plastic VISA or Mastercard gift card to the value of AU$250 (can be used anywhere, just like cash).

Who can enter?

1. Entries are welcome from living poets anywhere in Australia.
2. Entrants must be aged 16 years and above.
3. Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) and Deakin University (DU) staff and board members are not eligible to enter.

How to enter

1. Entries must be submitted online via the Geelong Regional Libraries website entry page (no printed or emailed applications will be accepted).
2. Multiple entries are NOT permitted. Only one entry per person is permitted.
3. Entries should preferably be a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF
4. Entrants will receive automatic confirmation of receipt.


1. Entries must be a single poem of no more than 75 lines, written in English.
2. Font: Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing, 12 pt, black.
3. The pages should be numbered.
4. Stanza breaks must be clearly indicated.
5. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the document or in the name of the digital file.
6. The file name should only include the title of the poem.

What does it cost to enter a poem?

1. Entries are free of charge.

Terms and conditions

1. Each entry must be an original work by the entrant and written in English.

2. While the entrant may submit their 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 another prize, the entrant must notify GRLC as their entry ceases to be eligible.
3. Entries will be deemed ineligible if they are under contract to another publisher or broadcaster.
4. Entries must be original works written by an individual living author.
5. Entries must not infringe upon anyone’s copyright.
6. Entries must not contain any dedications.
7. Entries that are deemed to be works of plagiarism will be disqualified.
8. Entries must contain nothing obscene, libellous, unlawful, defamatory, or anything GRLC or DU may deem to be inappropriate.
9. Previously published, prize-winning, or broadcast poems will not be accepted. (Previous online appearances constitute prior publication.)
10. Translations are not eligible.
11. Shortlisted poets may be required to take part in events and media activities.
12. The prize money also covers digital publication on the GRLC website.
13. Copyright in the poem(s) remains with the poet.

The judging process

1. Judging is completely anonymous.
2. The 2023 competition judges are David McCooey, Vanessa Schernickau and Louis Glazzard (GRLC’s Virtual Writer in Residence)
3. The judges may decide not to award the prize if they do not believe any of the entries to be of a suitable standard.
4. 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.
5. A shortlist comprising a maximum of five poems will be announced
6. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Local Word Writers Festival on the final weekend in August, 2023
7. The mentoring session must be completed within 12 months of the awarding of the prize. The meeting may occur at a GRLC Library, Deakin University, or via phone or Zoom, depending on the winner’s preference and location.
8. The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into about the judgements or the judging process.


To be eligible, entrants must tick the declaration box on the online entry page:
“I hereby declare that the poem entered in the Local Word Poetry Prize is my own work and has not been previously published, broadcasted, or awarded. I have read all the terms and conditions and agree to abide by them.”