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Urban Tree Festival 2023 Writing Competition

Date: Sun December 4 2022 9:00 am to Mon March 13 2023 11:59 pm

The Urban Tree Festival 2023 invites you to write a (flash) story or poem of 250 words or under about “Secrets of The Trees” .

Our urban trees have stood central to the story of urban development and urban living for centuries. What human stories have they witnessed? Time to give the urban trees a voice!

How has the urban population relied upon them both practically and spiritually?
What do these trees represent to a variety of cultures?

What can our trees reveal about global connections and histories? 

How do our trees help us find a sense of belonging in our urban environment?

What personal stories feature your urban trees? (Maybe you proposed under a tree, took your baby out for their first walk…etc)

What possibilities do urban trees provide for our future? 

The pieces can be grounded in life writing or fiction, with two categories of Poetry and Prose Writing. The latter can encompass any genre of fiction or nonfiction, including memoir and personal essays. 

The Urban Tree festival will publish an anthology of the best poetry and prose submitted both in an illustrated chapbook anthology as well as an audio locative podcast.

Shortlisted pieces will be showcased during the Urban Tree Festival 2023, at a public online event in which the shortlisted authors and poets of this writing competition will be invited to read their work. We are seeking engaging narratives whether they are fiction or fact.

Submissions are now open and will close on Monday 13 March 2023.

Winners will be published in Canopy, a limited edition illustrated chapbook anthology, published by Sampson Low Publishers in the Spring of 2023, the net proceeds of which will go towards funding future Urban Tree Festival writing competitions. The anthology will also be made available as an audio locative podcast. You can purchase copies of chapbooks from previous Urban Tree Festival competitions here.

Key dates
  • Submission deadline: midnight (GMT) on Monday 13 March 2023.
  • March – our judges will draw up a long-list. All poems and stories on the list will be published on the Urban Tree festival and walk · listen · create websites from April 2023.
  • May – Printed illustrated chapbook anthology of shortlisted pieces published (for public sale) and audio locative podcast.
  • Saturday 20 May – Shortlisters’ Writers’ Circle Prize online event – exclusive private event.
  • Sunday 21 May – Shortlisters’ Showcase – online public event – winners & runners-up announced

Shortlisted authors will receive 2 complimentary copies of the anthology, be invited to an exclusive Writers’ Circle online event on Saturday 20 May, and will be invited to read their work at the Write About Trees Showcase on the final Sunday of the Urban Tree Festival, Sunday 21 May.

This year we are inviting submissions as poems, or as fiction and non-fiction stories. The judges will be asked to choose their winner and runner up for poetry and prose categories, for which the winners in each category (poetry or prose) will receive a cash prize of €200, as well as a year’s Silver Membership to walk · listen · create (worth €50). Runners Up in each category will receive a year’s Silver membership. Winners and the runners up, will each receive an artwork that illustrates their poem or story, created by Alban Low


There is an entry fee (to cover administration costs) of €6 for one flash piece or poem and €9 for two (entrants are limited to 2 entries only – you may submit a poem and a story, either fiction or non-fiction, two poems or two stories). The entry fee will be waived for those unable to afford it.

The Theme

We want to read poems and stories about “Secrets of The Trees“. The poems or stories can be fiction or factual, travelogue, reportage or memoire but must be no more than 250 words in length. Judges’ decisions on this matter are final.

For terms and conditions, judges biographies, and to enter, visit the walk · listen · create website here.

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