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Like living in London? Inspired by beautiful buildings and city streets? 

Heritage of London Trust is launching the first annual Poet for Places prize, in collaboration with Brunel University London. 

If you’re 18-25 and would like a chance to be our Poet for Places for 2023, getting mentored over a year from top writers and poets, we want to hear from you!


“Poets shouldn’t be sat behind a desk looking out a window.

They should be out there writing as inspiration strikes them, and they should be looking for inspiration...”  

– Daljit Nagra 


Come and be inspired by London’s secret places – medieval monasteries, stone grottoes, beautiful paintings and urban parks… the list is endless and we want you to explore. 


The competition will be judged by award-winning poet Daljit Nagra. 

Daljit, who is Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, has had his prize-winning poetry published in The New Yorker, the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement, and his journalism in the Financial Times and The Guardian. Daljit’s four poetry collections, all with Faber & Faber, have won the Forward Prizes for Best Individual Poem, and for Best First Collection, the South Bank Show Decibel Award, the Cholmondeley Award, and have been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and, twice, for the TS Eliot Prize. 


Competition opens 1 May 


Competition closes Wednesday 31 May 

The Poet for Places will receive:

  • A £10,000 grant 

  • Behind-the-scenes access to hidden sites across London 

  • A chance to work with young people as part of Heritage of London Trust’s Proud Places programme 

  • One-to-one mentoring from award-winning poet Daljit Nagra, Dr Emma Filtness and other creative writers at Brunel University London 

  • A chance to publish a pamphlet of their work and perform in public  

  • A big kickstart to their creative career and a profile as a poet! 


The Octagon, Orleans House

The Octagon, Orleans House

Pope's Grotto, Richmond

Pope's Grotto, Richmond

Pimp Hall Dovecote, Waltham Forest

Pimp Hall Dovecote, Waltham Forest

Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, Putney

Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, Putney

Wanstead Grotto, Redbridge

Wanstead Grotto, Redbridge


Please send us:


1. One or two poems inspired by any historic sites or places in London or any theme about London’s heritage. 


2. A personal statement of no more than 300 words including answering these questions: 


  • What does London’s heritage and identity mean to you? 

  • Why do you write poetry?  

  • Why do you want to become London’s next Poet for Places? 

We will shortlist the entrants who will be invited to interviews and then the winner will be picked! 

Everyone shortlisted will be invited to the Launch Event at the end of June.

Apply using the button below.

For any questions, please email us at 


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Daljit is the inaugural Poet in Residence for BBC Radio 4/4 Extra, he presents Poetry Extra, a weekly programme on BBC Radio 4 Extra. He is a Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. His poem 'Singh Song!' was added to the AQA English Literature GCSE love and relationships poetry specification. His poems have been published in The New Yorker, Poetry Chicago, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement and New Statesman. He was written for The Guardian, The Financial Times, and he has performed his work in the UK and across the world. He was appointed Chair of the Royal Society of Literature in 2021, and is national advisor to Poetry by Heart, a PBS New Generation Poet and Council Society of Authors. 


“London has a uniquely complex diverse history that goes back hundreds of years and there is so much that needs unearthing. This is a really exciting opportunity and make sure you apply because you will learn a huge amount. You will be set tasks to inspire creativity and you will become a better poet by the end of it!”

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Emma is a poet and Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Emma also works in prose fiction and narrative non-fiction, with a penchant for hybrid and experimental forms. Her current practice involves an exploration of found and visual poetics, including zine-making and mixed-media composition.  


‘Our Creative Writing department at Brunel University London champions diversity and works hard to enable burgeoning writers to find and amplify their voices. We're interested in contemporary poetry in its myriad forms, both on and off the page, and love encouraging new poets to explore all that poetry has to offer. I believe that poetry has the possibility to enhance wellbeing and to empower, and I'm really excited to see what comes of this project.’ 

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Dr Nicola Stacey has been director of the Heritage of London Trust for eight years, and launched its youth engagement programme Proud Places in 2020. Her aim is to develop the vibrancy of the heritage sector, increasing diversity and encouraging local communities to find inspiration in their neighbourhoods. Nicola has worked at the Museum of London and English Heritage and published and lectured on history, heritage and archaeology in the UK, Middle East and USA.


“It’s so important that young people find inspiration in the city all around them. Poet for Places is designed to encourage creative thought around London’s heritage, what these places mean to different people and how every individual experience and understanding of these places should be celebrated and explored. We hope it will help people look beyond the physical sites to the complex stories behind them.” 

Poet for Places 2023 is generously supported by the Caledonia Investments Charitable Foundation.


In 2021 HOLT appointed Arnaud-William Mbaki as London’s Poet for Places. Arnaud spent the summer working with young people to share his enthusiasm for London’s heritage, creating poems and spoken word about places that inspire him.

Listen to Arnaud speaking above about his own background and thoughts on identity and rootedness, and how writing has helped define who he is.


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Hounslow Heath was notorious for highwaymen and their daredevil activities were romanticised in poems and stories.

Image: Cranford Lock Up, in Hounslow


previous PfP
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