THE search is launched this week by PENfro Book Festival to find some of the country’s best ‘eco’ poets and short story writers.

Two competitions run by the Festival are linked to the Loving the Earth Green Fair weekend, due to be held at Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran, at the end of August. Results will be revealed at the fair, and if the event is postponed the winners and shortlisted writers in both contests will be announced on the venue’s website.

Poetry competition organiser, Jackie Biggs said: “PENfro Book Festival had planned to run a series of literature related events at Rhosygilwen throughout this year, but while all live events are postponed we can at least continue with our popular competitions.

“Many writers are using lockdown time to write productively, and we believe our broad ‘eco’ theme of ‘Loving the Earth’ will help to inspire them.

“There has never been a better time to think about the Earth, its eco system and our impact upon it and the theme can be interpreted widely – the more innovative the better.”

Poetry judge is Adam Horovitz, whose second full collection of poems, The Soil Never Sleeps was published by Palewell Press in 2018. It was written over several seasons on six pasture farms in England and Wales, all of which eschew conventional, chemical-driven farming practice in favour of ecologically minded, biodiversity-friendly farming.

Adam, who will read all poems entered, says: “I am interested in poems which dig deep into the ecosystem; poems which root around in the soil and dig up surprising ideas and expose new shoots of life; poems which ask hard questions more than they offer answers; poems which are beautiful, challenging and full of subtle music and danger - much like the world we share.”

The poetry competition closing date is Wednesday, July 1. Entry, via the website only, is £5 per poem. Maximum length is 40 lines. First prize: £300, second prize: £100. Full info, rules and entry details available at

The short story competition, also on the ‘Loving the Earth’ theme, will initially be judged by PENfro Festival committee members Brenda Squires and Anne Garside, with the shortlist judged by the full committee.

Anne has worked for both Oxford University Press and the Johns Hopkins University Press. She is the author of several books for Caribbean school children and wrote the text for Camelot at Dawn, a book of then unpublished photographs of John and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Anne is currently a tutor for the Pembrokeshire Community Learning Centres.

Brenda has an MA in creative writing from Cardiff university. She won the Joan Hessayon award for her novel Landsker. Her most recent novel The Love of Geli Raubal was published by Parthian. She is currently working on a trilogy set in interwar London and Paris.

The first prize will be a weekend in the award winning eco house Ty Solar in the beautiful grounds of Rhosygilwen. Maximum length for entries is 1,000 words. Closing date for receipt of entries is Friday, July 31. All entries must be made online via the website, £8 per story.

Full information, rules and entry details available at