Judged by Tricia Dearborn, Benjamin Dodds and Jane McCredie

Submissions open 1 September 2018 and close on 1 October 2018 at 11.59 AEST PM

Many famous poets have written poems about science – Dorothy Porter, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, to name a few – and many in the field of science have written poetry. So we are thrilled to be announcing the inaugural Quantum Words 2018 Science Poetry Competition, run in conjunction with Writing NSW’s Quantum Words science writing festival, and in partnership with Australian Poetry. Whether you’re a poet, a scientist, or both, we want your science poems! Poems must include or address some aspect of science, but apart from that, your imagination is the limit. Surprise us, delight us, educate us, astound us, entertain us!

– Tricia Dearborn, Benjamin Dodds and Jane McCredie, judges

Submission Guidelines

  • Send a single poem or linked suite no longer than 24 lines (not including the title) to accounts@australianpoetry.org with ‘Entry for Quantum Words Science Poetry Competition’ as the subject header. Please also send in a separate file a brief bio (50 words max) and your contact details (email, phone, postal address).
  • Limit of one poem per entrant.
  • Open to NSW residents only.
  • No entry fee.
  • Entries must be Word files or PDFs. Please use 12 point font and 1.5 line spacing.
  • Poems are judged anonymously. The entrant’s name must not appear on the manuscript page.
  • Entry must be the original work of the entrant. Use of any material from another person’s work must be acknowledged.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished, must not have won or placed in another competition, and must not be currently submitted elsewhere. No alterations will be accepted once an entry is submitted.
  • A shortlist of a maximum of six poems will be announced on 22 October 2018.
  • 1st prize: a year’s free membership of Writing NSW, free entry to the Quantum Words 2018 festival, six science titles donated by Sydney’s Gleebooks; 2nd prize: a year’s free membership of Writing NSW, free entry to the Quantum Words 2018 festival, a bottle of Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’ shiraz cabernet; Highly Commended: a year’s free membership of Writing NSW, free entry to the Quantum Words 2018 festival. Winners will have the opportunity to read their prize-winning poem at the festival, or can nominate a judge to read their poem if they are unable to attend.
  • Employees of Writing NSW and Australian Poetry are not eligible.
  • The judges reserve the right not to award a prize.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.


The Judges

Tricia Dearborn is an award-winning poet whose work has been widely published in literary journals in Australia, online and overseas, and featured in anthologies such as Contemporary Australian Poetry, Australian Poetry since 1788 and The Best Australian Poems 2012 and 2010. She has a degree in Chemistry / Biochemistry with Honours in Biochemistry, worked briefly in scientific research, and scientific language and concepts are often central to her poetry. Her third full-length collection, Autobiochemistry (forthcoming from UWA Publishing in 2019), is named for a long autobiographical sequence based on the chemical elements.

Benjamin Dodds’s debut collection, Regulator, was published by Puncher & Wattmann in 2014. His poems and reviews have appeared in Best Australian Poems 2014, Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, Science Made Marvellous, Antipodes: Poetic Responses, Meanjin, Southerly, Cordite and on Radio National’s Poetica program. Before becoming a teacher, he worked as a laboratory technician for the NSW Department of Agriculture. His current poetry project explores a psychotherapist’s ethically troubling cross-fostering of a chimpanzee called Lucy in his family home.

Jane McCredie is a writer and journalist who reviews science books for The Australian and is a regular opinion columnist for Medical Journal of Australia publication, MJAInsight. She is the author of Making Girls and Boys: Inside the science of sex and is a former editor of The Best Australian Science Writing. She is currently the CEO of Writing NSW.