Announcing Primers Volume Six


Primers is a biannual mentoring and publication scheme organised by Nine Arches Press, now in its sixth 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 Six is poet Rishi Dastidar.

Previous winners include poets 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 and Krystelle Bamford. Could it be you next time?

The three selected poets will receive mentoring from poet Rishi Dastidar, author of Saffron Jack and Ticker-Tape, and editor of The Craft, editorial support from Nine Arches Press editor and Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow Jane Commane, and publication in Primers Volume Six in summer 2022, followed by events and readings.

There are up to 25 free entries available for writers on a low income who would not otherwise be able to afford to enter.

Please note that all the free entries have been claimed in this round.

 Open for submissions from 14th April 2021


Midnight BST on 25th July 2021

Submission Guidelines and How to Enter: 


  • This opportunity is open to anyone aged 16 or over (at the time of submitting their poems) writing in English 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 been previously published in any form (in print or online) at the time of submission.
  • Please do not enter poems in the initial submission which have previously won or have been placed a competition at the time of submission.
  • We reserve the right to disqualify entries that do not meet the eligibility criteria.


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 or .docx Word document containing your 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 lots of these 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 not your name or any other personal 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 is made by email and paid for via the Nine Arches 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 put the title of your submission.

  • All payments and submissions must be completed by the deadline: midnight on 25th July 2021.
  • 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 email will 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 £15 per submission of up to 5 poems.
  • The closing date is Midnight (BST) on Sunday 25th July 2021. 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 that 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.
  • Please note that all the free entries have been claimed in this round.



  • All submissions will be read by Rishi Dastidar and Jane Commane. Submissions are read anonymously in the first round.
  • Shortlisted poets will be notified by 5th October 2021. The shortlist will appear on the Nine Arches Press website and be announced publicly on the 14th October 2021.
  • Ten shortlisted poets will be asked to submit by email a further selection of 15 additional poems as well as the poems they submitted originally (20 poems total) by the 28th October 2021.
  • If you are shortlisted, up to 7 of your additional poems may previously have been published or placed in competitions.



  • The editors will select three poets from the shortlist of ten, who will receive one-to-one mentoring and editorial support with Rishi Dastidar and Jane Commane, leading to publication by Nine Arches Press in the annual Primers series.
  • Selected poets must be able to make themselves available for mentoring and editorial workshops via phone/skype, 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 be given ten free books each, plus a 50% discount on purchasing any further copies and a year’s subscription to the Nine Arches Press’ book club in 2022.
  • 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 2022, unless prevented by circumstances beyond their control.
  • Poets with disabilities, please note that we will ensure performances are fully accessible and inclusive.
  • Entry indicates an acceptance of these rules. Submissions failing to meet these rules will be disqualified.
  • The selecting editors’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.



Dates to remember:

  • Submissions open: Wednesday 14th April 2021
  • Submission deadline: Midnight (BST) on Sunday 25th July 2021
  • Shortlist announced: 14th October 2021
  • Deadline for additional submissions by ten shortlisted poets: 28th October 2021
  • Finalists announced: 1st December 2021.
  • Mentoring: January-May 2022.
  • Publication of Primers Volume Five: July 2022


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