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The National Poetry Competition is celebrating its 20th year, and now attracts a huge annual entry. The judging is anonymous, and winners have been unknown talents as well as such established writers as Tony Harrison. Past judges include most of the major figures on the contemporary poetry scene.

This year, the prize money has gone up to pounds 7000, as well as a superb Montblanc pen for each of the 3 winners and 10 runners-up. This year's judges are Roger McGough, Carol Ann Duffy, Andrew Motion and Moniza Alvi.

In January, the Independent on Sunday will announce the prize shortlist, and print many of the poems for a readers' poll. We will announce the winners in February. There will be a specially recorded cassette of this year's winning poems, as well as a selection from the last two decades, produced by ABM.

To enter, send an sae for application form to Competition Organiser, The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BU or ring hotline number 0171 240 2133

NB: The closing date is 31 October 1997