Media release: Be radical and submit your poems to the 2021 Janet Coats Memorial Prize


PAISLEY Book Festival would like to read, hear, and see your poetry on the theme of Green Spaces.

Paisley Book Festival’s theme for 2021 is Radical New Futures, motivated by the importance of green spaces which can offer solace and recuperation at a time of crisis.

Green spaces can be grand places of outstanding beauty or small, resilient patches of nature in the hearts of our towns and cities. They could be anything from parks to window boxes. Some are carefully manicured, others unkempt and wild. For so many, our green spaces have kept us going during these unprecedented times.

Inspired by their beauty, the Paisley Book Festival is asking writers to email their poems of up to 40 lines (either in a Word Document, MP3, or MP4 file) to with ‘Janet Coats Memorial Prize’ in the subject line.

Only one poem can be entered and the closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 11 December 2020. There are two categories for entries – over-18s and under-18s.

Shortlisted writers will be revealed online in January 2021 and will have their work published and presented at the 2021 Paisley Book Festival in February. The winners will be expected to attend an awards ceremony as part of the Paisley Book Festival with the winners being announced on the night. The winners will receive cash prizes under both categories – over=18s: £850; under-18s: £250 (£200 for the school library and £50 for the winning pupil).

Notes for editors:

Janet Coats was part of the renowned thread-making family, J&P Coats. The eldest daughter of Thomas Coats and Margaret Glen, her father was one of four brothers who inherited a Paisley-based thread manufacturing company that was renamed J&P Coats in 1830. Janet’s literary aspirations resulted in two volumes of nature-inspired poetry, one of which was published as Verses and Rhymes, in 1899. She was also the wife of publisher James Tait Black.

Submitting your work: 

Email your poems of up to 40 lines to in a Word Document, MP3, or MP4 file with ‘Janet Coats Memorial Prize’ in the subject line.  Writers retain full copyright of their work.

Who can enter? 

If you are over-18 and was born in Scotland or you live or have lived in Scotland, you can enter the Janet Coats Memorial Prize. If you are under-18 and live in Renfrewshire, you can enter the Janet Coats Memorial Prize.

Prize: Over-18s: £850; Under-18s: £250 (£200 for the school library and £50 for the winning pupil)

Terms and conditions:

Entries received after 5pm on Friday 11 December 2020 will not be eligible for the Janet Coats Memorial Prize;

Writers may submit only one poem whether written, MP3 or MP4 file;

Submit all poems blindly with no names or contact information on the file formats;

Writers retain full copyright of their work and Paisley Book Festival will only publish work with the permission of each winning shortlisted writer;

The competition is open to residents of Scotland over-18, those who have previously lived in Scotland over 18, or residents of Renfrewshire under-18;

Your entry must state which of the two categories you are submitting for along with your residential details in the body of the email;

There is no entry fee, no purchase necessary and you do not need to attend any of the Paisley Book Festival events to enter this competition;

Written poems must be submitted in ARIEL font at 12-point size, with single-spaced poem lines and double-spaced Stanza spacing, and must not be previously published.


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