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We are delighted to announce that the results of the McLellan Poetry Competition 2023 are in from our judge, Joelle Taylor, and are as follows:



Catherine Spooner from Lancaster “The Bears are coming down from the Mountains”.



Matt Hohner from Baltimore USA for “Kitten Steals Grenade from Ukrainian Soldier”.



Julie Sheridan from Barcelona for “The Men at My Fence”.


Five highly commended poems:


  • Jim Mackintosh from Perth for “Tour Package”

  • Louise Green from Dalbeattie for “The Solway Tide, 2023”

  • Caroline Bracken from Dublin for “Selective Mutism”

  • Simon Maddrell from Hove, East Sussex for “Knockaloe Camp”

  • Elle Becker from Arizona USA for “Unfinished”


Congratulations to all of the winning and commended poets, and thank you to all who entered the McLellan Poetry Competition. All poems are included in full in the link below, along with a bio of each poet.


This year, in addition to the main standard English competition, we also ran a Scots poetry competition, the results of which were announced at the McLellan Scots Poetry Evening in Corrie, Isle of Arran and are announced below.


We are delighted to announce that the results of the McLellan Scots Poetry Competition 2023 are in from our judge, Hugh McMillan, and are as follows:



Alistair Lawrie with his poem "Twists And Turns: A poem in two parts:1. Circe and 2 Penelope".



Finola Scott with her poem "Isobel Gowdrie encooters a Devil, efter the peintin by Ian Howard".



Donald Adamson with his poem "The Sang".


Highly commended poems:


  • Ann Craig for "Witches' Goodbye"

  • Kevin Connelly for "Ane Prayer for the Pest" 

  • Zoë Green for "The Johnshaven Unicorn"

Congratulations to all of the winning and commended poets, and thank you to all who entered the Scots Poem competition. All poems are included in full in the link below, along with a bio of each poet.


The McLellan Poetry Prize is awarded by the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust as part of the annual McLellan Arts Festival.


Now in its seventeenth year, past judges have included Kathleen Jamie, Robert Crawford, Jackie Kay, Peter and Ann Sansom, Michael Laskey, Simon Armitage, David Constantine, Maura Dooley, Sinéad Morrissey, Sean O'Brien , Luke Wright and Hollie McNish.


This year we are running two separate competitions:

  • the main competition in the English language - a first Prize of £1,000 is offered with a second prize of £300, a third prize of £100 and five commended poems prizes of £25 each. Winners will be invited to come and read with judge, Joelle Taylor, on the Isle of Arran in the first weekend of May 2024.

  • a second competition for the best poems in the Scots language - offers a first prize of £400 and a second prize of £100

Joelle Taylor is the author of four collections of poetry and a novel. Her most recent collection C+NTO & Othered Poems won the 2021 T.S Eliot Prize and was the subject of a Radio 4 arts documentary Butch. C+NTO was nominated for the Rathbone Folio Prize, longlisted for the Ondaatje Prize, and won 2022 the Polari Book Prize. It was named by The Telegraph, the New Statesman, The Guardian, The White Review & Times Literary Supplement as one of the best poetry books of the year, as well as DIVA magazine’s Book of the Month, and awarded 5 stars by the Morning Star. She has completed a book tour of Australia including Sydney Opera House (March 2022). C+NTO is currently being adapted for theatre with a view to touring.


A former UK SLAM Champion she founded the national youth poetry slams SLAMbassadors through the Poetry Society in 2001, remaining its Artistic Director until 2018. She is a co-curator and host of Out-Spoken Live, resident at the Southbank Centre, and an editor at Out-Spoken Press. She is also completing her memoirs for publication in 2024, and her novel of interconnecting stories The Night Alphabet will be published by Quercus in Spring of that year. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and the 2022 Saboteur Spoken Word Artist of the Year.

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Hugh McMillan is a poet from Penpont in South West Scotland. His work has been published widely in Scotland and beyond, and he has won various prizes, most recently the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2017 for Sheep Penned, published by Roncadora; he won the same award in 2009 for Postcards from the Hedge. He has been a winner in the Smith/Doorstop Prize and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and has also been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award and the Basil Bunting Award.


The winning and commended entries in the 2022 McLellan Poetry Competition were announced by judge Hollie McNish as part of the McLellan Art Festival on the Isle of Arran, Saturday 27th August.


There were well over 700 entries to this year's competition and after much deliberation, the winning entries are as follows:



FIRST PRIZE: Annaliese Broughton from Ayr for "We Did not Know"


SECOND PRIZE:  Jonathan Edwards from South Wales for "Terrace, 1960s"


THIRD PRIZE:  Tilottama Chowdhury from West Bengal, India for "How Was Your Day?"



Five further poems were COMMENDED.  In no particular order, these are:


Morag Smith from Paisley for "Lost"


Penny Shutt from Edinburgh for "Student Teacher"


Matt Hohner from Baltimore, USA for "At the Afterworld Reunion of Could Have, Would Have, Should Have High School"


Jos Olive from South East London for "Ripe City"


A C Clarke from Glasgow for "Past It?"



Many Congratulations to all of the winning and commended poets!

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First Prize Winner

2022 McLellan Poetry Competition

Annaliese Broughton


Judge - Hollie McNish

Instagram/Twitter: @holliepoetry

Facebook: /holliepoetry

A wee gallery of images from the 2022 competition

You can keep up to date with the competition by liking and following our dedicated Facebook Page

Winning and Commended Entries 2021

Luke Wright


Dubbed "the bard of lockdown' by The Telegraph after his marathon of 100 online gigs, Luke is the author of four books of poems, three verse plays and ten poetry stage shows, and has recently won the Saboteur Award 2021 for the best Spoke Word Performer.


He has toured his work all over the world and his work is regularly broadcast on television and radio.

Previous Years

Judge Sean O'Brien with the many of the 2019 Winners and the Competition Organisers at the Prize Giving on Arran.

 (from the right: Cicely Gill, Organiser; Sean O'Brien, Competition Judge; Jane Kinton, 3rd Prize; Kitty Donnelly, Commended; Pamela Brough, 1st Prize; James Caruth, Commended & David Underdown, Organiser.)

2018 winner Char March recorded her entry in Scots and English
Maura Dooley presents 1st Prize to  2017 winner Louise Greig
Jed Myers receiving 1st Prize from
David Constantine in 2016
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John Foggin receiving 1st Prize from
Simon Armitage in 2015
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