Poetry Against the Bomb

Scottish CND invites you to take part in our Poetry Against the Bomb competition, from Monday 16 August until Sunday 19 September.

Following a moving commemoration of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (watch it again here), which demonstrated the power of poetry and reflection to give voice to grief, to inspire action, and to bring us face to face with the true human cost of nuclear weapons and war, we are opening a poetry competition to address the history and the present reality of nuclear weapons and nuclear tests here in the UK. This is especially important with the anniversary of the UK’s first nuclear test coming up, while the UK government continues to ignore the human and planetary cost of its actions, and still pursues increased nuclear force.

We are delighted that renowned anti-nuclear poet and activist Gerry Loose will head our panel of judges.

Competition Requirements

The competition is open to entrants in Scotland and beyond.

Shortlisted poems will be published in an anthology marking the legacy of the UK’s nuclear tests, and calling for peace and justice, reparation to survivors and restoration of environmental harm.

Winning poems will be read at an event on 3 October, held in solidarity with the people who have suffered at the hands of the UK’s pursuit of nuclear force since its first test in 1952, and with victims and survivors of nuclear weapons around the world.

All entrants must be 16 years old or over. There are two categories: youth (age 16-25) and adult (age 26+). We welcome entries from groups of poets as well as from individual poets.

Theme and Resources

We invite poems on the theme of ‘peace, disarmament and reparation’ – poems that respond, especially, to the UK’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the impact that this has had, and continues to have, on the world we all share.

To learn more about the impact of nuclear weapons, please make use of the resources on this website and on NuclearBan.scot; read the testimony of hibakusha (survivors of the nuclear bombing of Japan) and ICAN’s reports of the catastrophic harm of nuclear weapons and nuclear testing. Read about the UK’s first nuclear test at Monte Bello Island in Australia on the CTBTO website, and find out about the impact of UK tests on the people of Australia on the ICAN Australia website.

“The promise of a temporary displacement would turn into one that persists today … These communities have been forced to connect to new lands, not of their own, and learn new ways to adapt and survive.”

~ DPR Sam Lanwi of the Marshall Islands (find out more)

“This is indiscriminate destruction wrought upon generations, with dispossession and ill health and death across generations …”

~ Tilman Ruff (find out more)

“Nuclear weapons are inhumane and indiscriminate on a scale that’s completely beyond comprehension. They’re used to end life on earth, it could end the nature of the planet itself.”

~ Janet Fenton (find out more)

Entry Criteria

Poems must be no longer than 40 lines.

Poems must be previously unpublished (either in print or online).

Entries are limited to a maximum of two per person.

Entries must be sent to campaigns@banthebomb.org. Please attach your poem(s) in Word or PDF format. Please include your name, age category (youth or adult) and contact telephone number in the body of the email.

Entries must be received no later than 11.59pm BST on Sunday 19 September.

The decision of the Judging Panel will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.