Poetry and prose has a long tradition in secure establishments and the criminal justice system. With the only materials a pen and paper, we receive thousands of written entries each year. Poetry is the most popular type of Awards submission – with around 3,000 poems each submitted annually across Poem, Anthology, Poetry Collection and our Themed Category.
Other written categories of the Koestler Awards include: flash fiction and short story, longer fiction and novel, non-fiction, blog, essay, article and review, life story, braille, poem, poetry collection, anthology, stage play, radio play, screenplay and song writing.
We look for innovative ways to present writing to the public, within exhibitions, books, events and posters. A recent showcase of written entries to the Koestler Awards is Koestler Voices: New Poetry from Prisons – Vol. 1, which presents some of the best poetry from the 2016 and 2017 Koestler Awards, with a foreword by Poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
Read work from previous Koestler Awards below.