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Mary Anne was delighted to judge the April 2021 Sentinel Literary Quarterly poetry competition. Here are the results, and her adjudication report:

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competitions Results Page (sentinelquarterly.com)

About Mary Anne's work


Prize-winning writer Mary Anne Smith Sellen's work has been recognised in both national and international competitions, most notably winning first prize in the 6th Five Words International Poetry Competition 2018-2019, for 'Monolith'.

 Other recognitions include:

  • 'Four white buttons' shortlisted and 'Lost and found in Fitzrovia (after Dylan and Caitlin Thomas)' longlisted in the Anthony Cronin International Short Poem Award 2021.

  • 'Night of the Nightjar' selected for the 2021 Grey Hen Press anthology 'Lovely, Dark and Deep: Poems about trees'.

  • 'All My Little Fictions'  published in '20 / 20 Poems, 2020', celebrating 20 years of Poetry on the Lake Festival, Italy, Orta San Giulio (limited edition).

  • 'Tinder and Flint', a poem about Vita Sackville-West's relationship with Virginia Woolf, selected for the 2020 Grey Hen Press anthology 'Of Some Importance: A Celebration'.

  • Commended in the 2020 Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Poetry Competition for 'Hilda is dreaming'.

  •  Shortlisting in the 2020 Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year competition for 'Moonlight in Venice'. 

  • Highly commended in the 2020 Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize for a pamphlet of 15 poems.

  •  Joint third prize in the 2019 Barnet Poetry Prize for 'All My Little Fictions (After Katherine Mansfield)'.

  • Shortlisting in the 2019 PenFro Festival Competition for 'Cinnamon Girl'.

  • Second Prize in the August 2018 SLQ competition for 'Rural Living'.

  • First Prize in the November 2017 SLQ competition 'Dreamland'

  •  Two poems, 'Unbroken' and 'The Lych Bell' , on the shortlist/outstanding poems in the 2018 Hungry Hill Poets Meet Politics competition​.

  • Commendation in the 2017 Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, for a pamphlet of ten poems.

  • Shortlisting in the 2015 O'Bheal Five Words competition for 'Night of the Nightjar'.

  •  Second-placed winner in a competition run by Paper Swans Press and The National Trust at Sissinghurst, for 'Like One Long Poem of Names', a villanelle on the theme of the roses at Sissinghurst Castle.  

  • Commendation in the 2016 Elmet Poetry Prize, for 'Out of the City', a poem written in response to Ted Hughes' poem The City.


Her work has also been published in magazines and anthologies, including Confluence Medway, Camden Lumen Poetry, Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis, and The Kentish Gazette, and broadcast on radio programmes and podcasts in both the UK and the USA.

In 2017 she co-developed and took part in a poetry and music event 'The Colours of Love' at the Wise Words Festival in Canterbury, together with her husband, the poet Derek Sellen, and poet and musician Frances Knight. In 2019 the trio performed a new collaborative set 'Poetry Is Where You Find It' at the first Westgate-on-Sea Literary Festival. In February 2021 they reunited via Zoom for 'Darkness into Light' , a performance of words and music on this theme, which raised £90.00 for Canterbury Food Bank. 

In February 2020 Mary Anne and Derek, together with the poet Victoria Field and the musician Eduard Heyning, staged a poetry and music event at Rochester Cathedral, 'Inspired by the Moon', to celebrate Museum of the Moon by the UK artist Luke Jerram which was then on display in the Cathedral. A repeat performance was staged via Zoom in late January 2021.

Mary Anne has put together two small pamphlet collections of her poems, including some of those mentioned above, under her own imprint of BookSmith Books. 'First Flush' and 'Between Two Lives' are each priced at £3.99 (inclusive of UK postage - shipping for overseas orders will be charged at cost). To place an order, please email:  books.booksmith@gmail.com and you will then be sent a PayPal invoice. 

The natural world, landscape, biography, architecture, history, and art are all influences on Mary Anne's work. She is currently working on further poems towards her first full collection. A collaborative project with her sister, the photographer Margaret Smith (see the Links page for her website) is also planned.

Five Words Award 2019.jpg