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The theme of this year’s Paisley Book Festival is to ‘Imagine Something Different’ and event organisers are seeking short poems that breathe life into this theme, capturing the very spirit of innovation, daring to explore realms uncharted. Inspired by Janet Coats and her legacy, Paisley Book Festival holds an annual poetry prize for adults and  Secondary age school pupils living in, or attending school, in Renfrewshire.

Shortlisted writers have their work published in our Janet Coats Memorial prize pamphlet and receive a reading at the annual prize giving event during the festival itself – with the adult winner receiving a £850 cash prize and the young people’s winner receiving a cash prize of £50 and £200 toward their school library.

Paisley Book Festival is produced by OneRen, the culture and leisure organisation based in Renfrewshire. The event will take place in venues, including the new Paisley Central Library, from 25 to 28 April 2024.

Stephen Slevin , Library Development Coordinator said: “We’re asking poets to imagine something different and infuse their verses with the essence of boundless possibilities, transcending the ordinary to embrace the extraordinary. Whether drawing inspiration from the tapestry of diverse cultures, envisioning utopian landscapes, or challenging societal norms, we encourage submissions that embody the spirit of courageous imagination.”

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. She was also the wife of publisher, James Tait Black and Janet’s own literary aspirations resulted in two volumes of nature-inspired poetry, one of which was published as Verses and Rhymes, in 1899.

Submissions are now open.

Please email your poems for the adult competition of up to 40 lines (either in a Word Document, MP3 or MP4 file) to jcmp@renfrewshire.gov.uk with Janet Coats Memorial Prize in the subject line.

You can enter one poem only and the closing date for entries is midnight on 25th February 2024. Entrants to the adult prize should be 18 or over.

Please email your poems for the young persons’ competition of up to 40 lines to sls@renfrewshire.gov.uk with Janet Coats Memorial Prize in the subject line and include your name, school and age in the email with the poem as an attachment. You can also hand in your poem to your school librarian. You can enter one poem only and the closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 25th February

Shortlisted writers will be revealed on Friday 29th March and will have their work published and presented at Paisley Book Festival 2024 in April. Shortlisted entrants will be expected to attend an Awards Ceremony as part of the Paisley Book Festival. Winners will be announced on the night.

All short-listed entries will be included in a pamphlet celebrating the Janet Coats Memorial Prize in 2024 , the adult winner will receive a cash prize of £850 and the young people’s winner will receive a cash prize of £50 and £200 toward their school library.

For more info, visit www.paisleybookfest.com

Author

Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X