Primers Volume Seven - open for submissions


Primers is a biannual mentoring and publication scheme organised by Nine Arches Press, now in its seventh edition. It provides a unique opportunity for talented poets to find publication and receive a programme of supportive feedback, mentoring and promotion. We're delighted to announce that the selecting editor and mentor for Primers Volume Seven is poet and novelist Katie Hale.


Katie Hale is an internationally recognised poet and novelist, who has held residencies and fellowships around the world. Her novel, My Name is Monster, was shortlisted for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award and has been translated into multiple languages, and her second pamphlet, Assembly Instructions, won the Munster Chapbook Prize. She is a former MacDowell Fellow, Hawthornden Fellow, and winner of the Palette Poetry Prize, and was awarded a 2021 Northern Debut Award for White Ghosts which was published by Nine Arches Press in March 2023. She lives in Cumbria, where she also writes for theatre and immersive digital performance, and mentors emerging poets.

Previous selected poets include Romalyn Ante, Sarala Estruch, Aviva Dautch, Cynthia Miller, Ben Bransfield, Marvin Thompson, Katie Griffiths, Geraldine Clarkson, Lucy Ingrams, Maureen Cullen, Amelia Loulli, Victoria Richards, Lewis Buxton, Hannah Jane Walker, Claire Cox, Krystelle Bamford, Kym Deyn, Estelle Price and Fathima Zahra.

Could it be you next time?

The three selected poets will receive:

  • Two poetry mentoring sessions with Katie Hale.
  • An editorial mentoring session with Nine Arches Press editor and Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow Jane Commane.
  • Publication in Primers Volume Seven in summer 2024.
  • Ten free copies of Primers Volume Seven.
  • Primers live showcase events (online and in person) in 2024.
  • £100 worth of Nine Arches Press books.


All ten shortlisted poets will receive a publication spotlight feature on our blog, plus a special Nine Arches poetry-writing handbook bundle worth £30.

There are a selected number of free entries available for writers on a low income. Please see guidelines for more information.

Open for submissions from Friday 9th June 2023


PRIMERS VOLUME SEVEN DEADLINE: Midnight BST on Thursday 14th September 2023

 Submission Guidelines and How to Enter: 


  • This opportunity is open to anyone aged 18 or over (at the time of submitting their poems) and who is resident in the UK.
  • Primers is open to poets who have not yet published a full-length collection of poems in the UK. We define a full-length collection as any collection of poems of more than 40 pages total. Previous publication in a pamphlet(s) of less than 40 pages is allowable.
  • All submissions must be written in English and be the original work of the poet. Translations are not eligible.
  • Please do not enter poems in the initial submission which have previously won or have been placed in any other competition at the time of submission.
  • Please do not enter any poems in the initial submission which have previously been published in a poetry pamphlet or anthology.
  • We reserve the right to disqualify entries that do not meet the eligibility criteria and cannot refund fees if an entry is disqualified or withdrawn.


 Your Primers submission:

  • Your Primers submissions should consist of a maximum of 5 poems and should be no longer than 7 pages overall.  
  • All submissions must be typed, 12pt, in a plain font, and with each poem beginning on a separate sheet of paper.
  • Submissions must be formatted as one single PDF or .doc / .docx Word documentcontaining all five poems and attached to your submission email.
  • Each submission must have a title. Please give the name of your submission and the name of your document the same title.
  • Please choose a specific not generic title (i.e. ‘A Bag of Tricks’ not ‘Primers Submission’ as we have many submissions to keep track of).
  • Submissions are read anonymously so please do not include your name in either the file name or in the title of your submission. Each page of your submission should include the title of your submission, but no identifying details.
  • You may send more than one entry, but each must be treated as a separate entry and submitted via email individually.
  • If you are unable to send online submissions due to accessibility issues, please contact Nine Arches Press directly:

 How to Enter: 

 Submission to Primers is made by email and paid for via the Nine Arches Press online shop.

  • Please first pay for your entry or entries (by credit/debit card or PayPal) in our online shop or via the button at the bottom of this page.
  • Take note of your order number(s) from your email payment confirmation from us (a hashtag and five numbers) as you'll need this to submit your poems.
  • Email your submission as one single Word or PDF document to and please include the following in your email only:

        • Your full name
        • Your phone number
        • The title of your submission(s)
        • Your order number from your payment
        • In the subject line of your email, please also include the title of your submission.

  • All payments and submissions must be completed by the deadline: midnight (BST) on Thursday 14thSeptember 2023
  • It is entrants' responsibility to ensure payment has been processed successfully. All payments will receive an email confirmation.
  • Successful submissions will receive an automatically-generated confirmation email, unless you have made multiple separate submissions, in which case please note that only your first submission emailwill be acknowledged.
  • Any unpaid entries will be disqualified.
  • No alterations can be made to poems after submission.
  • If you have any technical issues with paying or submitting your poems, please contact us at: not at the Primers email address.


 Submission Fee and Closing Date: 

  • The cost of submission is £17 per submission of up to 5 poems.
  • The closing date is midnight (BST) on Thursday 14thSeptember 2023. All submissions and payments must be received by the deadline.
  • We recommend you enter early, as we may not be able to provide technical support at the last minute.
  • This fee supports the programme of development including mentoring and editing that the three selected poets will receive.
  • Payment is non-refundable.


 Free Entries for Low-Income Writers:

  • Applicants should initially email to confirm they are on a low income and would like to apply for one of the free entries.
  • Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 25 eligible entries.



  • All submissions will be read by selecting editor Katie Hale.
  • Submissions are read anonymously in the first round.
  • The shortlist will appear on the Nine Arches Press website and be announced publicly on Friday 20th October 2023.
  • The shortlisted poets will be asked to submit a further selection of 15 additional poems as well as the poems they submitted originally (20 poems total) by the Tuesday 31st October 2023.
  • Please do not include any poems in the full submission which have been previously published or are about to be published within the next 12 months in any form of poetry pamphlet, book, or anthology.
  • The three Primers finalists will be announced on the Tuesday 14th November 2023.




  • The editors will select three poets from the shortlist of ten, who will receive one-to-one mentoring and editorial support with Katie Hale and Jane Commane, leading to publication by Nine Arches Press in their Primers series book.
  • Selected poets must be able to make themselves available for mentoring and editorial workshops via Zoom or phone, with dates by arrangement.
  • Copyright remains with the poet, although the organisers reserve the right to use the winning collection and any related material for publicity and marketing purposes.
  • Whilst the poet will retain copyright of the poems, the design and layout of the winning published collection will remain with Nine Arches Press. Nine Arches Press will retain the right to publish additional print and digital editions of the book and individual poems.
  • Selected poets will need to sign a publishing contract with Nine Arches Press for legal and copyright purposes.
  • Winning poets should be prepared to make themselves available for promotional performances and events in 2024, unless prevented by circumstances beyond their control.
  • Any performances will be accessible and will include both live and online events.


 All Entrants please note:

  • The selecting editors’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • We cannot give feedback on any submissions.
  • Entry indicates an acceptance of these rules. Submissions failing to meet these rules will be disqualified.


 Dates to remember:

  • 9th June 2023: Primers and scheme opens. 
  • 14th September 2023 at midnight (BST) - deadline for entries.
  • 20th October - shortlist of 10 Poets announced.
  • 31st October - 10 shortlisted poets enter final, full manuscripts of max 20 poems.
  • 14th November 2023 – announcement of the three Primers finalists.
  • Primers Volume Seven publishes in July 2024