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


Now in its fifteenth 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 and Luke Wright.




Well, that's it, folks! The witching hour on 10th July has now passed here in Scotland and so the 2022 McLellan Poetry Competition is now closed to further entries. What a tremendous response we have had , with well over 700 entries from every corner of the planet. Thank you SO MUCH to all who took the time and effort to enter and best of luck to everyone. We shall now start the serious task of reading and sifting through the poems, which we are really looking forward to, although know that it is going to be an unenviable task for our judge Hollie McNish to whittle these down to our final winners this year.


The winning and commended entrants will be notified by 15th August and invited to come and read on Arran on 28th August, for the Winners celebration evening with Hollie McNish. Tickets are also now on sale to see Hollie McNish, with support from Michael Mullen, on Saturday 27th August here on Arran via Tickets Scotland.


Thank you again to all entrants. So many talented poets in the world!

We are really excited to announce that this year’s judge will be the wonderful Hollie McNish.


Hollie McNish is a poet and author based between Glasgow and Cambridge. She won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her poetic parenting memoir – Nobody Told Me -  of which The Scotsman stated ‘The World Needs this Book’. She has published four further collections of poetry – Papers, Cherry Pie, Plum and her most recent poetic memoir Slug...and other things I’ve been told to hate, which is a Sunday Times Bestseller.  With fellow poet Sabrina Mahfouz, she co-wrote Offside , a play relating the history of UK women’s football, and has just completed a re-imagining of Sophocles’ Greek Tragedy Antigone, published in October 2021 with Hachette. Hollie loves writing. Her poetry has been translated into German, Spanish, Hungarian, Polish, Japanese and French. She is a patron of Baby Milk Action.

Instagram/Twitter: @holliepoetry

Facebook: /holliepoetry


Hollie McNish



First Prize £1300

Second Prize £400

Third Prize £150

Five commendations of £50 each

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
Simon Armitage 2015_2.jpg
John Foggin receiving 1st Prize from
Simon Armitage in 2015