Poetry NOW: 9th annual Battle of the Bards

1 stage. 20 poets. 1 winner.

Our popular poetry competition returns in 2017 to feature 20 of Canada’s upcoming and established poets! One poet will receive an automatic invitation to read at the 38th edition of the International Festival of Authors AND an ad for their book and IFOA event in NOW!

Poetry NOW is presented in partnership with NOW Magazine.11 Poetry NOW logo

Poetry NOW FAQ

IFOA is inviting submissions for Poetry NOW: 9th annual Battle of the Bards. Even if you’ve submitted/presented work here before, please read our submission guidelines below:


So what’s this all about, anyway?

In 2009, IFOA posted its first-ever open call for submissions. Poets 35 and younger were invited to be part of a celebration of our 43 years in the reading series business. The standard of entries was astonishing, and the resulting event was one of the highlights of our year. The event returned in 2010, but was opened up to published poets of all ages. 2010 also saw a new partnership with our friends at NOW Magazine, and that collaboration continues to this year.

I’m pretty good, y’know. Will there be any sort of prize?

Oh yes. One reader will win an automatic invitation to appear at the 38th edition of the International Festival of Authors (October 19–29, 2017) AND an ad for their most recent book of poetry in NOW Magazine as well as an ad for their IFOA event! Not bad, eh?!

Who is eligible for Poetry NOW?

You must be published by a trade publisher in a collection that is all your own work (so anthologies, literary journals and magazines aren’t eligible). Your book must have been published within the last five years, and it must be currently in print.

This one seems kind of obvious, but you must also be in Toronto on March 29 and available between 5pm and 10pm. (We will not be covering car/train/boat/plane or accommodation expenses.)

I was part of last year’s event, can I still enter for the 2017 event?

Absolutely. We’d love to have you back.

What sets Poetry NOW apart from your regular weekly literary events?

We’ll be featuring 20 readers in one event, instead of our usual two or three. And we won’t be making a judgement call about who gets an invite. If you fit the criteria and your name gets pulled out of the hat, you’re in!

Do I need to pre-register? Or can I just sign up on the night?

Although we’re throwing open the call for submissions, we will be confirming the line-up several weeks in advance and liaising with publishers to promote the event according to our usual procedures. Submissions must be made by your publisher by Friday, February 24 at 5pm.

(See our submission guidelines for publishers below.)

What’s the closing date for submissions?

Friday, February 24 at 5pm.

How many authors will get to read at the event? And for how long?

20 authors will read for up to 3 minutes each.

How will you choose the readers?

Submissions that fit the above criteria will go into a draw. You have as much chance of being selected as the next person.

Who picks the winner?

Three judges.

When will I find out if I’m in?

Publishers will be notified and details confirmed by March 3. We’ll announce the line-up March 9.

What if I have more than one publisher? Can they both submit my work?

By all means, but we will only put your name in the draw once. (Also, see below re: books being for sale on the night of the event.)

Will my books be for sale at the event?

Yes, but we will require each presenting poet or their publishing representative to bring the books on a consignment basis. Your publisher can arrange these details with us once we have the line-up confirmed.

I have lots of friends/family/groupies. How can they all come and support me?

Tickets are $10 (free to our supporters, students with valid ID and youth 25 & under) and can be purchased online soon. Stay tuned!

Will there be a bar?

You betcha!


Please submit eligible titles by email to submissions@ifoa.org by Friday, February 24 at 5pm.

You must include the following information:

  • Name of Author
  • Brief bio
  • Eligible title(s) and their year(s) of publications

Please write “Poetry NOW” in the subject line.

And please let us know if we already have the book under consideration for our regular weekly event series.

Once the 20 authors have been picked, we will contact the relevant publishers to confirm details.

At that point, you will be required to send:

  • 3 copies of the book the author will be presenting
  • An author bio and brief synopsis of the book
  • An author photo and book cover image (both as high res. jpegs)

Stranger than Fiction


Spend an afternoon with writers Deborah Campbell, Alexandra Risen, Laurence Scott, Jeff VanderMeer and visiting Irish non-fiction writer, Catriona Crowe. Get inspired by new ideas about our humanity and our relation to the world around us.

Stranger than Fiction presentations will take place in the Brigantine Room from 12pm to 6pm on Sunday, October 30th.

Campbell Deborah

Stranger than Fiction: Deborah Campbell
A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War.
Award-winning journalist Deborah Campbell travels undercover to Damascus, reporting on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria in the aftermath of the Iraq War. 

Click here to purchase tickets for A Disappearance in Damascus.



Risen AlexandraStranger than Fiction: Alexandra Risen
Root Therapy: Re-imagining the Family Tree
Alexandra Risen’s memoir Unearthed celebrates family bonds and perseverence. In this uplifting talk she will discuss the unconscious and profound connections between nature, gardens and people, and how soil is the new Prozac.

Click here to purchase tickets for Root Therapy.



Scott LaurenceStranger than Fiction: Laurence Scott
The Four Dimensional Human
Laurence Scott, hailed as a “New Generation Thinker” by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC, presents The Four Dimensional Human and explores the effects of technology on human behavior and identity.  

Click here to purchase tickets for The Four Dimensional Human.



VandermeerStranger than Fiction: Jeff VanderMeer
Moving Beyond the Human Era: Storytelling and Climate Change
Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy explores ecological issues through his attempts to uncover the mystery behind Area X, allowing VanderMeer to engage in what the New Yorker called “experiments in weird nature writing”. VanderMeer will explore writing about climate change. 

Click here to purchase tickets for Moving Beyond the Human Era



Crowe CatrionaStranger than Fiction: Catriona Crowe
Ireland’s violent revolution: How do we commemorate it?
Catriona Crowe will talk about the Irish decade of revolutionary centenaries – the 1913 Lockout, the Great War, the 1916 Rising, Civil War and independence – and how a small country deals with its violent beginnings as a state.

Click here to purchase tickets for Ireland’s Violent Revolution.

IFOA 2016 Authors

IFOA is thrilled to announce the latest additions to the Festival roster. Meet our 2016 authors!

Alexis AndreAnderson DargatzAtwood MargaretBarclay LinwoodBarwin Gary Bergen David Brock David James Bunjevac NinaButala Sharon Butler Robert Olen Campbell Deborah Card Liam Chambers Chris Crowe CatrionaDefore Michael Donoghue Emma Drnaso Nick Galappatti Sunila Geye PeterGirailt Torrente Gravel Elise Gray Charlotte Greer Darren Hall PhilHammer Jackobsen Harvey Samantha Helm Michael Hernandez Miguel Angel Hill LawrenceHiraide Takeshi Hisayo Buchanan Rowan Hochschild Howard Liz Huggan Isabel Humphreys CC Hynes MaureenIrani Anosh Jones Amy Kanigel Robert Kay Guy Gavriel Kertes Khan Rukshana Kloeble Christopher Kutsukake LynnLafon Lola Lam Thao Lapena Shari Lawson JonArno Legris Sylvia Lynch JimMaksik Alexander Martel Yann Martin Luisge Martz John Matar Hisham Mclnerney Jay McNaught Melandri FrancescaMetcalf John Morissey Donna Motion Muldoon Paul Nguyen Viet Thanh O'Brien TimO'rouke Ciaran Ohi Ruth Olasfsdottir Ava Oliveros Chris Oppel Kenneth Patterson Kevin Perly Susan Pick AlisonPinder SarahPrentiss Molly Price Steven Reid Ian Richards David Adam Risen Alexandra Robinson Peter Rubin Beck Eric Russo RichardsSanders Ben Scott Laurence Senior Olive Smith Sydney Storring Nathan Strube Cordelia Sutherland Joel Szalay DavidTan Cheryl Taylor Kate Thien Madelaine Thompson AndreaThompson Judith Tratnik Suzana Tsabari Ayelet Tysdal Daniel ScottUrquhart Jane Vandermeer Wachtel Eleanor Wagenaar Ware Ruth Westoll AndrewWhitlock Nathan Whittal Zoe York Alissa Zipp Samuel

For a full list of participants visit ifoa.org.


Page 1 of 2112345...1020...Last »