John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize 2014

This poetry manuscript prize honours the spirit of a Queensland poet, haijin, editor and publisher John Knight, whose Post Pressed provided many poets with a rare opportunity to publish in book form.

In its 2nd year in 2014, this is a prize for an unpublished poetry manuscript of 40 pages.  The details regarding entries for the 2015 prize will be announced on this site by the end of February 2015.



The winner of the 2014 poetry manuscript prize is Helen Avery, of Longreach, Queensland. Her Loosely Defined was judged the best of 62 manuscripts entered for this year’s prize.  It will be published by Fence Post Press early in 2015.  The judges said: ‘A collection full of laconic observation with a subdued empathy for person and place … This collection … wins, not by grand eloquence, but by a simple surety of pace and expression.’ Ted Reilly’s entry was highly commended and Shane McCauley’s, Charlie Grady’s and Maggie Shapley’s shortlisted entries were commended by the judges.


The winner of the 2013 poetry manuscript prize was Vanessa Kirkpatrick, of Katoomba, NSW.  Her first collection of poetry To Catch the Light was published by Fence Post Press in association with Erudite Scribe Writing Editing and Publishing and launched at the Queensland Poetry Festival on Saturday 24th August 2013 at the Judith Wright Centre in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley and was subsequently commended in the FAW Victoria Anne Elder Award for a first collection of poetry. Vanessa received 25 hard copies of the published book, and a royalty contract for all sales in excess of the author stock.  

60 entries were received in this first year of the manuscript competition, many of them of very high quality. To Catch the Light impressed the judges with its consistency of voice, and its capacity to reveal new depth and greater pleasure on repeated reading.  The other shortlisted finalists were Rob Walker, Vanessa Page and Jeff Klooger.

 To Catch the Light is currently available for sale on this site for $20.00 including postage and handling.  Please email [email protected] to place advance orders.  Booksellers will be eligible for trade discounts.


1. The poetry manuscript must be 40 A4 pages in length. Each new poem must start ON a new page.

2. Use 12-point type and 1.5 line spacing.

3. Entrants to the John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.

4. The poetry manuscript (MS) must be the entrant’s original work.

5. The name of the collection must appear on every page of the manuscript, but the name of the author must not appear anywhere in the manuscript.

6. The manuscript must be unpublished and not simultaneously entered in other manuscript competitions or on offer for publication elsewhere. Prior publication of individual poems in literary journals and newspapers is encouraged. An acknowledgements page should be included with the manuscript, listing all the poems previously published and where they have first appeared.  This includes on-line publication and any broadcast performance (radio or television).

7. Entrants may submit more than one entry to the John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize, but each manuscript must be attached to a separate email with details as described in 8. below, and a  separate entry fee of $20 must be paid for each manuscript.

8. All entries must be submitted with the manuscript as a Word .doc or .docx file attached to an email, the body of which must contain the author’s full name, the name of the manuscript, the author’s email address, telephone contact details and residential address.  Entries are to be sent to [email protected] with John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize in the subject field.

9. Entries will be acknowledged via email.

10. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Judges reserve the right not to make the award in any particular year.

11. Pay the AUS $20 entry fee via Paypal using the button below.

12. Entries must be received by email, with the manuscript as Word file attached, not before the opening of the 2014 competition on 1st February 2014, and will close at midnight on 31st  July 2014. (Note extended deadline.) The winner will be advised by email and telephone at least 24 hours prior to the award being announced on this website on Friday 3rd October 2014.  The winner must be committed to engage in an interactive editorial process to ensure that the book is print ready for publication towards the end of 2014.

14. Entrants who are unable to pay via credit card or Paypal account direct to Paypal should email [email protected] to request details to pay by EFT.

15. The winning entrant will receive a royalty contract for publication by Fence Post Press in association with Erudite Scribe Writing Editing and Publishing and 25 copies of the published book.