The Kipling Society John McGivering Poetry Prize

Poems of travel

Judge: Harry Ricketts

Entries are invited to the The John McGivering Writing Prize, hosted by the Kipling Society for two years, for poetry in 2021 and prose fiction or memoir in 2022. The 2021 poetry competition, on the theme of travel, will be judged by Harry Ricketts, poet, literary critic and biographer.

First Prize £350
Second prize £100
Third Prize £50

"We're off again on the long trail, the trail that is always new"

Rudyard Kipling, a global traveller all his life, from Rajasthan in 1888 (Letters of Marque) to Brazil in 1927 (Brazilian Sketches), again and again celebrated the experience of foot-loose travel—an experience that has become all the more alluring during this year of enforced lockdown.

The delights, surprises and occasional hardships of travel—past, present or future—can be addressed in any way the poet chooses: comic or serious, formal or free verse. Parodies are permitted, but of especial interest are poems which are sparked off by Kipling's work without necessarily imitating him, though poems drifting too far from the theme will not be considered.


  1. Poems should be no more than 35 lines in length including gaps between stanzas, and must fit onto a single A4 page.

  2. Entries must be original. Plagiarism will not be accepted. The poem must not have been published previously, either in print or online or in any other media.

  3. Competitors give their permission for the winning poems to be published in the Kipling Journal and on this web-site.

  4. Poems must be submitted as Word attachments to emails addressed to They must be unsigned, but must have on their title line the writer's initials in reverse order. These reversed order initials must appear in the accompanying emails, together with the writer's name and contact details (email, telephone number, postal address).

  5. There is an entry charge of £5 for each poem, payable by Paypal. Click here to pay by Paypal.

    Please attach your Paypal receipt when submitting your poem.

  6. The competition will open on 1st March 2021, and will close on 1st May 2021 at 11.59 pm, BST.

Harry Ricketts, who grew up in England, Malaysia and Hong Kong, studied English at Oxford and taught at the Universities of Hong Kong and Leicester before moving to New Zealand in 1981 where he teaches English literature and creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka. He has published eleven poetry collections in addition to numerous literary-critical and biographical works, which include the acclaimed "The Unforgiving Minute: A Life of Rudyard Kipling" (1999) and "Strange Meetings: The Lives of the Great War Poets" (2010).