New Writers Awards: How to Record and Submit Poetry Samples

We accept recorded samples of your poetry for our New Writers Awards. Please check these guidelines before sending your sample. 


What should I send?

As well as filing in your poetry application, you can send:

  • Up to 15 minutes of recorded poetry (check our tips for recording poetry)
  • A transcript of your recording (this will not be treated as part of your sample, it's for the panel's reference only)
  • If you are performing an extract from a longer performance piece or show, please provide a synopsis of up to 500 words


How should I send my recordings?

  • You can either:
    • Upload the recording to an online streaming service or file hosting site and make it secure, telling us any passwords needed to access it (see our tips for securing recordings)
    • Upload the file onto your application (there is space for a maximum of three uploads, please do not upload any pieces longer than five minutes in length)
  • You must anonymise your recording as far as possible (remove your name or identifying information from title/comments etc.)
  • Send each poem or piece as an individual recording, with the name of the piece at the start
  • Make sure your recording contains only your sample - with no additional performers or extra material

Please keep your recorded sample secure and private until the 2020 awardees are publicly announced (this should be in January/February 2020). Please don't take down your recording until you hear the result of your application.


Tips for making a recording

Your recording should display your writing and performance skills; it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive to produce. Make sure the panel can focus on your performance, hear your voice and see you clearly.

Setting: Keep it simple. Try to find somewhere without a lot of background noise or use a plain background.

Recording audio: most smart phones, tablets and laptops have microphones and recording software included if you do not have professional recording equipment. Free software is also available for computers. Place the recording device in one place and do some trial runs first to check the volume/recording quality using both earphones and any speakers the recording device has.

Camera and editing: Place the camera or device in one place and perform as you would to an audience. Avoid any camera shots or editing techniques that distract from your performance. Please use your judgement when including props, costumes, etc. and include only what is necessary to represent your work.


Ways to secure your recordings online

Many competitions and online slams use likes, hits, shares and comments as part of the judging process. However, all applications to the New Writers Awards are confidential and based on the sample alone, so you should not share your submitted recording on social media.

Please use the privacy settings of your chosen platform to protect your recording. We've put together a few exmaples from some of the most popular platforms.

Video on Vimeo

Vimeo provides instructions to securely share a video. We recommend the following settings:

  • Who can see the video? Only people with a password.
  • Video embedding? Nowhere.
  • Who can comment on the video? No one.
  • Include the link and password in your application.


Video on Youtube

YouTube provides instructions for uploading unlisted videos. We recommend the following settings:

  • Upload as an unlisted video.
  • Disable embedding, likes and comments.
  • Include the link in your application.

On YouTube, you cannot protect your video with a password, and anyone with the link can re-share it in a number of ways, such as forwarding the link by email or adding it to a playlist.


Audio tracks on Soundcloud

Soundcloud provides instructions. We recommend the following settings:

  • Upload the track.
  • Make the track private.
  • Include the secret link in your application.
  • Let us know if you reset the secret link between submitting your application and hearing the result of your application.


Got any questions? Unable to send us a recording or transcript for any reason? Please email

Image via jebswoleja on Pixabay.