The Lockdown Prize




Judge: Fish Editors - Clem Cairns, Mary-Jane Holmes, Adam Wyeth

Word Limit: Poems - 19 lines / Pocket Prose - 100 words / Haiku - standard length*

Closes: CLOSED: June 15 '20

Results: June 30 '20

Anthology Published: July '20

Entry Fees: €10 (€3 of every entry to OXFAM)


Nine pieces (three from each genre) will be published in the Fish Anthology 2020. 

First in each genre will be awarded a Fish Writing Course Online.

Short-listed entries will be published on the Fish web site.



Fish Lockdown Prize


Judges –   Rules   –   Entry Fees   –   How to Enter  –  ENTER NOW

RESULTS OF THE LOCKDOWN PRIZE + list of winners to be published in the Fish Anthology 2020

Short-listed pieces published online:

Poems & Pocket Prose published here

Haiku/Senryu published here


Theme – Coronavirus (the writer’s response to the strange times of 2020).


  • POEMS (max 19 lines)


  • POCKET PROSE (max 100 Words)



30% of all entry fees will be donated to OXFAM to support their Coronavirus aid.

Nine pieces (three from each genre) will be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2020. 

The Winners of each category will receive an Online Writing Course with Fish Publishing.

Short-listed entries will be published on the Fish web site.

For many, this is the most extraordinary event of our lifetime. While we are all isolated at home, thoughts turn to the imaginative and creative. At times of crises and changes in the world society looks to its artists who can help console, inspire and even re-imagine the world. You may not be the doctors or chemists who work at the coal-face of this epidemic, but you are the creative people who mine the human spirit and bring the ore to the surface.

Let’s hear from you, the writers and poets, for your response to this crisis. How is it affecting the psyche of the individual and the collective? How are people coping with their unexpected isolation and incarceration? Will we come out of it changed? Will we look at ourselves and our world with an altered perspective? We are looking for responses of all kinds – the funny, the sad, the imaginative, the surprising, the mundane, the beautiful.



Haiku and Senryu are a Japanese form of short poetry. Senryu tend to be about human foibles while Haiku tend to be about nature. Traditional Haiku and Senryu consist of 17 syllables, in three lines, 5, 7, and 5. Many poets do not rigidly adhere to this and nor will we.




Rules: The Lockdown Prize

  • No entry form is needed. Entry is online, or by post if required.
  • You may enter as many times as you wish. There is an entry fee for every piece submitted.
  • This ‘lockdown’ competition is open to writers of any nationality writing in English.
  • The winning pieces must be available for the Fish Anthology, and therefore must not have been published previously.
  • Notification of receipt of entry will normally be by email.
  • The judges’ verdict is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • Entries cannot be altered or substituted once they have been entered.
  • Judging is anonymous. Name and contact details must not appear on the stories, (in the box provided if entering online, on separate sheet if entering by post).
  • Entry fees will not be returned if submissions are withdrawn after entering.
  • Entry is taken as acceptance of these rules.



Entry Fees: The Lockdown Prize

30% of all entry fees will be donated to OXFAM

(Entry Fee is the same for all 3 categories)

  First Entry
ONLINE 10.00 10.00
Critique (Optional) 35.00 35.00
Entry & Critique 45.00  
POST  12.00 12.00 
 Critique (Optional) 38.00 38.00 



How to Enter: The Lockdown Prize

You can enter online or by post. The cheaper option is to enter online.

– How to Enter ONLINE:
To enter online, click the green button and follow the instructions.


MAKE SURE YOUR NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS ARE NOT ON YOUR ENTRY. (Judging is done anonymously.) Your entry and name are linked automatically when you enter.


– How to Enter by POST:
Post to: Fish Lockdown Prize, Durrus, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland. P75 VK72.
Please use normal postal service (not couriers as this service is unreliable in our rural area).
Best not to use registered post as this slows receipt. (We will email you to confirm that your entry has arrived.)
Make cheques payable to Fish Publishing, using your country’s currency.
Do not sent postal orders (outside Ireland).
Print on one side of the page only in reasonable-sized type.

The Lockdown Prize is judged anonymously, so please put all contact details on a separate sheet.
Receipt of entry will be by email.
Entries will not be returned.



Judges: The Lockdown Prize

Mary-Jane Holmes

Fish Short Story Course Tutor

Mary-Jane is passionate about teaching and editing creative writing. A Forward Prize nominee and Hawthornden Fellow, Mary-Jane has won the Bath Novella-in-Flash Prize, the Bridport Poetry prize, Martin Starkie, Dromineer, Reflex Fiction and Mslexia Flash prize as well as the Bedford Poetry competition. In 2020, she was shortlisted for the Beverley International Prize for Literature and longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. Mary-Jane’s debut poetry collection Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass is published by Pindrop Press.

Her work appears in anthologies including Best Small Fictions 2014/16/18  and Best Microfictions 2020 and in a variety of publications including Magma, Modern Poetry in Translation,  The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Tishman Review, Magma, Barren, Spelk, Cabinet of Heed, Firewords, Flashback Fiction, Mslexia, Fictive Dream, The Lonely Crowd, and Prole.

She has an MA (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Kellogg College, Oxford and is currently completing a PhD in poetry and translation at Newcastle University. Her novella Don’t Tell the Bees, will be published later this year by Ad Hoc Fiction.

Interview with Mary Jane Holmes


Adam Wyeth


Adam is an award-winning poet, playwright and essayist who lives in Dublin. He has three books published. His critically acclaimed debut collection, Silent Music (2011) was Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. Adam’s second book, The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry(2013) contains poems from Ireland’s leading poets followed by sharp essays that unpack each poem and explore its Celtic mythological references. Adam’s third book and second poetry collection The Art of Dying was published with Salmon in November 2016 and was named as an Irish Times Book of the Year. Adam’s poetry has won and been commended in many international competitions, including The Bridport Poetry Prize, The Arvon Poetry Prize and The Ballymaloe Poetry Prize. His work appears in several anthologies including The Forward Prize Anthology (2012 Faber), The Best of Irish Poetry (Southword 2010) and The Arvon 25th Anniversary Anthology. Adam is also selected poet for the 2016 Poetry Ireland Review’s Rising Generation of poets. Recently an excerpt from a new poem was selected for the Wild Atlantic Way Passport. 

Adam’s first play Hang Up, produced by Broken Crow (2013), has been staged at the Electric Picnic, Home Festival, Cork and the Galway Theatre festival. It was adapted for film in 2014 and premiered at Cork’s International Film festival and was screened in 2016 in Berlin alongside his fourth play, Apartment Block (Broken Teapot Productions) who presented ‘An Evening of Adam Wyeth’ at Theaterforum Kreuzberg. His third play, Lifedeath was showcased at the Triskel Arts Centre mini-festival of new work in December 2013 and was named by the Irish Examiner as the play of the festival.

In 2013 Wyeth was commissioned by Cyclone Rep. to writeThe Poetry Sessions, a full-length play covering all the poets on the Leaving Cert syllabus, which had a nationwide tour; co-written with Paula McGlinchey. He is co-founder with McGlinchey of Why on Earth Productions, which had its first production of solo-play Yoga For Beginners as part of the Scene & Heard work in development Festival at Smock Alley, 2016. Adam has over twelve years experience as a creative writing facilitator and works as a professional reader and editor. Adam is running many creative workshops in 2017 including the Mythic Imagination week long creative writing at Anam Cara, Co. Cork and a sailing retreat creative writing holiday around Spain with Kingfisher Sailing. See for further details.


Clem Cairns

Clem, head of Fish Publishing, has had a lifetime of promoting and encouraging creative writing. Fish has published over 500 writers from around the globe to date, given feedback to thousands more and sought to improve writer’s skill with mentoring and tutoring.

In 1997, Clem started the West Cork Literary Festival. He ran this festival for eleven years and in that time grew the festival into a week long event of workshops, talks, interviews, readings and unusual literary events. 


Time left to Enter:

-167Days -2Hours -26 -27

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News & Articles

Fish Anthology 2020

9th November 2020
The Fish Anthology 2020 is now available. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to publish work from these wonderful writers. I could see great stretches of imagination. I saw experimentation. I saw novelty with voice and style. I saw sentences that embraced both meaning and music. ~ Colum McCann Read more about the […]

Books from Fish Writers

9th November 2020
  Don’t Tell the Bees by Mary-Jane Holmes A dazzling novella-in-flash, which won first prize in the 2020 Bath Novella in Flash Award judged by Michael Loveday. A stunning example of what the form can accomplish – Meg Pokrass Mary-Jane is the Senior Editor at Fish Publishing.       The Wolf Road by Richard Lambert  A compelling debut by […]

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2nd July 2020
  Author Name(Alphabeticalorder)   HAIKU / SENRYU   ——————————————————————– Allen Sunshine brightens the day By Myra Allen   Sunshine brightens the day Walking lightens the moodTalking provides solace for the soul   ——————————————————————– Askew American Sentences By Claire Askew   First full day of lockdown   Murmuration of late snow: no company here but stove, […]

Lockdown – Best Poems & Pocket Prose

2nd July 2020
Author Names(alphabetical order) POCKET PROSE/POEMS/BREAKOUT Hit this Link for HAIKU/SENRYU Adams Daughter By Ash Adams   I loved you like a pandemic, like an emergency— you, running naked in everyone’s yard. Loving you started like an acid trip: one day, you emerged from my body like a slippery fish and the world breathed. Things were […]

Lockdown Prize: Results

2nd July 2020
From all of us at Fish, we are delighted to announce the results of the 2020 Lockdown Prize. Thank you to all the writers who entered this prize which resulted in a torrent of great work and a donation to OXFAM’s Coronavirus Emergency Appeal of €4,308. We were looking for authentic, interesting, insightful reflections on […]

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