The University of Manchester

Lemn Sissay OBE returns as judge for the 2024 Micropoetry Competition

Esteemed poet and former Chancellor of the University, Lemn Sissay OBE, has been unveiled as a judge in this year’s Micropoetry competition.

As the honorary chair of creative writing, Lemn will be one of four judges considering entries around this year’s theme which is ‘200 years of creativity: Manchester’s past, present or future’. The other panel members include:

  • Director of Creative Manchester and Professor of Poetry, John McAuliffe
  • Writer, illustrator and opera-maker, Dr Rebecca Hurst, who was commissioned to write a poem celebrating the University’s 2024 bicentennial year
  • Manchester-based poet and critic, Maryam Hessavi

Participants are invited to write a micropoem, of no more than 280 characters, and submit via email or on X (formerly Twitter) using the hashtag #micropoem24. Submissions are open to anybody and can explore Greater Manchester’s industrial past, dive into the modern-day city and everything it has to offer, or even imagine its blossoming future.

“The University of Manchester’s micropoetry competition sets the challenging task of translating a theme into a short, tweet-like form,” said Lemn. “It’s a craft to tell a story in such a manner and I’m looking forward to reading the 2024 entries, centred around the chosen theme. As someone who published a book of tweets in the form of quatrains, I urge you to pen your poem and enter our micropoetry competition.”

Entries must be submitted by Wednesday 10 April 2024, with winners to be announced Friday 17 May.

Prizes will be awarded for first place (£500) and the two runners-up (£250), with a £25 book token for winner of the under-18s category. Authors of the top three micropoems and the winner of the under-18 category will also be invited to attend The University of Manchester’s Community Festival on Saturday 8 June 2024.

“With the University celebrating 200 years of learning, innovation and research, it made sense to focus our competition theme on Manchester this year,” John added. “As a city with a global reach that celebrates its connections across the world, we look forward to seeing people’s different takes on our beloved city.”

Find out more and try your hand at the #micropoem24 competition here:

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