News updates  

February 2022:  Mary Anne is delighted to be jointly judging with Derek Sellen the

                    5th Lord Whisky Animal Sanctuary Poetry Competition.

All details can be found via the following link, and the deadline for submissions is

31st May 2022:  Recent news and events in Canterbury (lordwhisky.co.uk)


Mary Anne judged 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' (after Monolith/Empyrean, by Barbara Hepworth).



Other recognitions include:


  • 'Medallion' (For the artist ‘Gluck’ (Hannah Gluckstein) 1895 - 1978) selected for the Grey Hen Press anthology 'Phenomenal Women'.

  • 'We are making a new world', after the painting by Paul Nash and his contemporary letters, commended in the 2021 Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Poetry Competition.

  • 'The shape of our lives: Barbara Hepworth to Ben Nicholson' highly commended and  'In the White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle' commended in the 2021 Poetry Space competition. 

  • 'Many Doors: Monk's House, Rodmell' shortlisted for Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2021.

  • 'Rural Living' selected for the 2021 Grey Hen Press anthology 'Counting Down The Days'.

  • '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.

  • 'The Cottingham connection (Philip Larkin, for Monica Jones)' published in Dream Catcher 43 magazine.

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

  • 2020:

  • 'All My Little Fictions'  (After Katherine Mansfield) 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.

  • 2019:

  •  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'.

  • 2018:

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

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

  • 2017:

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

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

  • 2016:

  • 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.

  • 2015:

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


Her work has also been published in anthologies and magazines (see Blog page for some examples) and broadcast on radio programmes and podcasts in both the UK and the USA. She has two poems pinned on the Places of Poetry website, one for  Whitstable in Kent and the other for Aspenden in Hertfordshire.

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.

Biography, art, architecture, history, nature and place are the main influences on Mary Anne's work. She is currently working on further poems towards her first full collection. 

Five Words Award 2019.jpg