Ballads for Reading Gaol – Rules


We recommend all entrants read the rules carefully before entering the competition. If you have any questions please contact us using our contact form.


  1. The competition is open to both adults and children. International entries are welcome.
  2. The competition is free to enter.
  3. The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 31 March 2022.


  1. All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
  2. Poems must relate to Reading Gaol.
  3. Poems must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title and dedications).
  4. Poems must be in English.
  5. Poems must be the entrant’s original work.


  1. Entries must be submitted online using the entry form.
  2. Only one entry can be submitted by each entrant.
  3. Entries from under 18’s must be submitted by a parent or guardian.
  4. Entries must as either a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or a PDF file.
  5. The file name should be the title of the poem, or if there is no title, the first line of the poem.
  6. The file should contain only the title of the poem, the poem itself and any dedications.
  7. Entries must be typed.
  8. Entries should not include cover/title pages or illustrated work.
  9. Entries should use an easy to read font, 12pt, black.
  10. No personal information should be included in the file. Doing so would disqualify the poem from the competition.


  1. All entries will be judged anonymously.
  2. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judges or to introduce a judges panel if required to produce a shortlist of entries without notice .
  3. The judges decision is final. Neither the judges nor competition organisers will enter into any correspondence.


  1. Winners and runners-up will be notified by email .


  1. By entering a poem, you are confirming that the entry is an original piece of work by the author, and does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others and that the Save Reading Gaol campaign would not be in breach of any copyright if they publish the poem online as text or in a audio/video.
  2. Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author. However, Save Reading Gaol has unrestricted rights to publish the winning and highly commended poems, with accreditation, online via social media and/or the website and to include them in press releases. This publication might be in text form or an audio/video of the poem being recited. In the case of entries from under 18s any such publication by Save Reading Gaol will include first name of the author only.