Words by the Water competition deadlines looming

You have until 10 February to send in your entries to two competitions being organised as part of the Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas in Keswick this March.

The Mirehouse Poetry Prize is run in conjunction with the historic stately manor house on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. It celebrates Mirehouse’s historic literary connections with writers, including Wordsworth, Southey, Tennyson and Thackeray.

Entries are invited for original poems of no more than 40 lines on the theme of “There is no joy but calm!”, a quote from Tennyson’s ‘The Lotus-Eaters’. The Mirehouse Poetry Prize will be judged by the award-winning poet and fiction writer Helen Dunmore, winner of both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the National Poetry Competition. A first prize of £350 as well as runners-up prizes is being offered.

All competition entrants are invited to a free event with Helen Dunmore at Mirehouse on Saturday 10 March, where the shortlisted poems will be read out. Click here to read the prize-winning poems from last year.

The Notting Hill Editions Essay Writing Competition invites original works of no more than 1000 words on the topic of Creativity. The essay competition was introduced at Words by the Water last year to celebrate the festival’s tenth anniversary. This year’s judge is Adam Mars-Jones, a novelist, short-story writer and critic for Newsnight Review.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three essays. All entrants are entitled to claim a free ticket (normal price £7.50) to hear Adam Mars-Jones discuss his own writing and the essay competition at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, on Monday 5 March.

Winners of both competitions will be notified by Friday 24 February. Click here for entry conditions and more information.