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Some artists and writers have struggled, like many, and again, like many, they have used the situation as an opportunity to pause, reflect and create. We felt it important to offer a platform for the variety of writing that is happening. So this year the Prize is opening up its digital doors, in collaboration with Storyhouse, to accept digital submissions from all four categories of the past four years: poetry, short fiction, children’s literature and scriptwriting. The judges, William Stephenson* , Alex Clifton* , and Si Poole* , will choose one winner from each category. They will be looking particularly for original and inspiring responses to all aspects of the pandemic including “lockdown” and what has become for us all the “new normal”.

Rules and Conditions

  1. The 2020 Prize for Literature will be awarded for an original and previously unpublished piece of creative work in one of four categories themed around all aspects of the pandemic including “lockdown” and what has become for us all the “new normal”.
  • A short story up to 1500 words.
  • A poem up to 100 lines.
  • A piece of work aimed at children aged 7 to 14 either a short story up to 1500 words or a poem up to 100 lines.
  • A playscript suitable for radio, theatre or television, no more than 15 minutes in length.
  1. The writer must have been born, live or have lived, study or have studied, work or have worked, in Cheshire. For the purposes of the Prize, Cheshire is deemed to include the Wirral, as well as Warrington and Halton. Documentary evidence of eligibility may be required.
  2. Entrants can be any age, but those under 18 years of age on the 31st January 2021, will require written consent from a parent or guardian when submitting.
  3. Entries can be submitted by an individual or be a joint submission but if entering a joint submission all participants must be eligible to enter.
  4. Entries must be received by 31st January 2021. Email entries should be sent to, each entry must be attached as a separate Word document with a separate Word document containing a covering letter to include name, address, email address, title of entry(s) and category(s) they are entering. Joint submissions need to include contact details of all entrants. Entrants from outside the county must state the reason for their eligibility.

*Please note this year we are unable to accept postal entries and all entries must be submitted electronically.

  1. There is no charge for entering the competition. Entrants may submit one entry in a maximum of two categories and must state clearly which category(s) they are entering.
  2. Entries will be judged anonymously, by a panel chaired by Simon Poole, Faculty of Education, and Senior Lead in Cultural Education and Research at Storyhouse. The decision of the judging panel will be final. No correspondence can be entered into concerning individual entries.
  3. By entering this competition the writer consents to their work being published – further terms and conditions can be found at
  4. A £500 prize will be awarded to one winner from each of the four categories.

*The University reserves the right not to award a prize in any category if there are not enough entrants for that category. (A minimum of 5 entrants)


Enquiries about eligibility, or requests for further information, should be directed to:

Jenni Davies

Tel: 01244 511344


Twitter: @cheshireprize


History of the Prize

The Cheshire Prize for Literature was founded in 2003 by the then High Sheriff, John Richards OBE DL, and Dr Bill Hughes from the University of Chester. It is open to people with a connection to the historic Cheshire boundary (including Wirral). It is one of the few free-to-enter literary competitions and offers not only a significant cash prize for the winner but also the rare opportunity for the best entries from the previous year to be published professionally by the University of Chester Press in an anthology edited by a senior member of academic staff.

Traditionally operating on a triennial cycle of short stories, poetry and children’s literature, in 2019 a new category for scriptwriting was introduced. The University was delighted to form a partnership with Storyhouse, which forms such an important new part of the cultural offering in Cheshire.