Tuesday 14 October 2014


Administrator’s Note

Please note that this competition was judged blind and the adjudication report was sent in by the Judge with only the titles of the winning and commended poems. I have matched the winners and their poems to make for easier reading.

-      Nnorom Azuonye (14/10/2014)


An adjudication report by Brindley Hallam Dennis


There were 73 entries, and I knew I was in trouble when my shortlist reached twenty.

        Adding one more to the list would have brought another nineteen in with it, and that didn't help either. What I'm saying is that I enjoyed an awful lot of these stories. In fact, there were only a few – two or three – that I didn't think had something good going for them; and two of those read like well-written articles, but they weren't really short stories. For all you glass half full types out there, you could say, I found a lot of the stories to be lacking that little something that would make them winners!

        It's only in competitions that you have to make these sort of judgements. Otherwise you take your shorts like an espresso, and enjoy them for what they are, in the moment, for you, as you are, at that moment. What's it about? Do you care? How's it written? Does the voice beguile you?

        As I sifted through I began to realise that the stories I wanted to celebrate most were somewhat oblique in form or content; forceful in their tellings, with voices that made me stop and listen; with subjects that caught my interest. The whole range was there: life death; love; comic; tragic; absurd; serious, and the rest. A few took what are becoming contemporary standards, and anything that everyone is talking about is hard to write about without becoming part of the undistinguishable murmur, or cacophony. Two, in my 'Commended' list were, I guessed, by the same author, having the same characters. I'd like to see those as part of a longer fiction – a novel perhaps?


Here's my list, in traditionally reversed order:


Commended (in no particular order):


Till Death Us Do Part by Gareth Shore (Sale)

Fifty-Second Birthday in Bed by Christie Cluett (Bristol)

Odd Boy by Sharon Boyle (East Linton)

It's Seven Letters You Need by Maxine Backus (Grueningen, Switzerland.)

Abide With Me by Maxine Backus (Grueningen, Switzerland.)


Highly Commended (in no particular order):


For Mike by Geoff Aird (Edinburgh)

Swan Sculpting in Leighton Buzzard by Katie Martin (Cambridge)

Oh How We Danced by Tony Crafter (Knockholt)


3rd Prize

The Eternal Knot by John Robinson (Newbury) - Complex, convoluted, philosophical. A conversation between an Old Man and a snake, on the huge subject of sentience – of being alive and knowing it; of being mortal, and knowing that too.


2nd Prize

Coffee-Coloured Eyes by Olga Vakruchev (Toronto, Canada) -Slipping into the surreal, but I never doubted this woman's voice, nor her belief in her own story.


1st Prize

Killers at Fat Joe's by Tom Serengeti (BERTSHAM , South Africa) – I think I liked the ambition of this most of all: daring to echo Hemingway's title, and story, and do a riff on it. But I liked the spare descriptions and the dialogue too, and the unfolding events, and the characters, and their names, and the ending. I guess I would have liked the pizza too!    




Saturday 11 January 2014

The Threat of Sweet Peas by Robin Muers

The threat of sweet peas: a questioning exploration about evolution, and the nature of man from close observation of sweet peas, whose “flutterings” become “butterflies, / debutantes with untried wings / too scared to launch”. Changing to “lifeboat pods”, that “start flying”, “Perhaps their eggs take root”. The descriptions are exquisitely delicate; and the range of imagination and philosophising as disturbing and intriguing as the poem’s startling title suggests.

The Threat of Sweet Peas was commended in the Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition 2012. The poem appears in The Genesis of Falcon – the competition winners anthology.

THE GENESIS OF FALCON  is available here.

Wednesday 4 December 2013


We have put aside everything else to focus the next seven days on Sentinel publications. Our scheduling has been a right mess lately to be quite honest. Therefore over the next 7 days, we will be working with our distributors to ensure that all books and magazines ordered are on their way to the buyers. We shall also be pushing our Christmas special offers.


We are truly humbled by the fact that despite the delay in publishing Sentinel Literary Quarterly, subscriptions have continued to come in from the UK, the United States and especially South Africa. We can't let down such faith people have in Sentinel. We appreciate the overwhelming support we have continued to receive.


So far today we have dispatched many copies of "The Genesis of Falcon", "First Flame" - the short fiction collection by Bruce Harris, and various back issues of Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and Sentinel Champions. If you are waiting for your order, we will get to it inside this focus week and dispatch it.


If you have any queries please shoot them in. We can guarantee a reply within 24 hours - not the 72 hours our mail confirmation says.


E-mail: nnorom.azuonye@sentinelpoetry.org.uk | sentinel@sentinelpoetry.org.uk | publisher@spmpublications.com | competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk | editor@sentinelquarterly.com


All of these emails are manned. Sandra, Jacob and I are standing by to deal with any issues.


Want to talk? Call me on 07812 755 751 or 0870 127 1967. If the lines are busy, leave a message and somebody will call you back.


All the best

Nnorom Azuonye

Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company Ltd

Thursday 20 June 2013

Poetry & Short Story Competitions (June 2013) – Sentinel Literary Quarterly

The June 2013 poetry and short story competitions judged by Claire Askew and Brindley Hallam Dennis respectively will close on the 30th of June.


Details: These competitions are for original, previously unpublished poems up to 50 lines long and short stories up to 1,500 words long. Stories and poems may be on any subjects and in any style. Authors of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter. The Sentinel Literary Quarterly competitions have been run successfully every 3 months since July 2009 (Poetry) and January 2010 (Short Stories).


Prize money in each category: £150 (first), £75 (2nd), £50 (3rd) and £10 x 3 (high commendation). The winning and commended poems and stories also receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly which appears in print, eBook and online. (See current issue at www.sentinelquarterly.com)


Entry Fees (Poetry): 4/1 poem, £7/2 poems, £9/3 poems, £11/4 poems, £12/5 poems, £16/7 poems, £22/10 poems.


Entry Fees (Short Stories): £5/1 story, £8/2 stories, £10/3 stories, £12/4 stories.


How to enter: You may enter online or by post. Enter online, save time and save on postage costs. Pay securely by PayPal and submit your work by e-mail, or print off entry forms at these locations:


Poetry: http://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry/

Short Stories: http://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/short-stories/


Full details of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly writing competitions can be found at www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of our competitions please by all means ask Sandra Felix, the Competitions Secretary by writing to competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk


Tuesday 28 May 2013

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (June 2013)

Closing Date: 30 June 2013

Details: For previously unpublished poems in English language in any style, on any subject up to 50 lines long. Poems entered must also not be under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere and may not be entered into another competition running at the same time.

Eligibility: Poets of all ages, gender and nationality living anywhere in the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes: £150 (First), £75 (Second), £50 (Third), £10 x 3 (High Commendation) + Publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine.

Fees: £4/1, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7 and £22/10 poems.

Judge: Claire Askew author of The Mermaid and the Sailors.

Contact: Enter online or download Entry Form (for postal entries) at http://www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry

Postal Entries: Cheques/Postal Orders in favour of SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Have you registered to attend the SPM London Book Launch?



On the 9th of March, 2013 SPM Publications, the publishing division and primary imprint of Sentinel Poetry Movement will hold a presentation and launch of some books we published in 2012. The books are:

1.       Marking Time by Roger Elkin

2.       The Bridge Selection by Nnorom Azuonye

3.       Letter Home & Biafran Nights by Afam Akeh

4.       All the Invisibles by Mandy Pannett

5.       Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology 2012


The event will be held at the Waterloo Action Centre, 14 Baylis Road, London SE1 7AA. The venue is just 3 minutes’ walk from Waterloo Station. There is also ample metered parking around the venue.


Admittance is completely FREE of charge, however pre-registration is required due to the limited spaces available.



How would you like to win 1, 2, 3, 4 or all 5 books to be launched on the 9th of March? We have a raffle to be drawn on that day. It is just £2.50 per raffle ticket. By buying a raffle ticket, you not only give yourself a chance to win these books, but you also support the work of Sentinel Poetry Movement.


Please note: You may buy a raffle ticket even if you cannot attend the event. If you win, we will send you the signed books free of charge to any address in the world.


FREE event tickets and the raffle tickets are available at: http://spmbooklaunch0313.eventbrite.co.uk/#




The SPM Book of the Month (February 2013) is Mandy Pannett’s ‘All the Invisibles’. This seminal poetry collection has received excellent reviews and has excited poetry lovers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Nigeria where those who have bought it are recommending it to their friends.


Throughout February All the Invisibles will be delivered to United Kingdom addresses without any delivery charges whatsoever. International orders will receive £1.50 off delivery charges and all buyers will receive FREE pdf versions of Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine issues Jul-Sept 2012 and Oct-Dec. 2012 (2 issues).


To learn more and to buy All the Invisibles today visit http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/publications/alltheinvisibles/index.html




Closing March 31, 2013

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition

(March 2013)

Judge: Oz Hardwick

Prizes: £150, £75, £50, and 3 x £10

Publication: In Sentinel Literary Quarterly Magazine.

Fees: £4 per poem, £7/2, £9/3, £11/4, £12/5, £16/7 £22/10

Enter Competition Here

Closing March 31, 2013

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition

(March 2013)

Judge: Kate Horsley

Prizes: £150, £75, £50, and 3 x £10

Publication: In Sentinel Literary Quarterly Magazine.

Fees: £5 per story, £8/2, £10/3, £12/4

Enter Competition Here

Sentinel Nigeria All-Africa Poetry Competition 2013

Closing Date: 28-Feb-2013

Theme: Open

Length: 50 lines maximum (Excluding title)

Prizes: N35,000 (1st), N20,000 (2nd), N10,000 (3rd), N4000 x 3 (High Commendation).

Fees: N450 / £2.50 per poem

Publication: Yes. In Sentinel Nigeria Magazine

Judge: Chiedu Ezeanah

Enter online or by post here.

Sentinel Nigeria All-Africa Short Story Competition 2013

Closing Date: 28-Feb-2013

Theme: Open

Length: 1500 words maximum (Excluding title)

Prizes: N35,000 (1st), N20,000 (2nd), N10,000 (3rd), N4000 x 3 (High Commendation).

Fees: N450 / £2.50 per story

Publication: Yes. In Sentinel Nigeria Magazine

Judge: Judge Dibia

Enter online or by post here.


Thursday 7 February 2013

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March 2013)

Oz HardwickClosing Date: 31-March-2013

For original, previously unpublished poems in English Language on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long (excluding title). Poems entered should also not be entered into another competition running at the same time. Poets of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes: £150 (First), £75 (Second), £50 (Third), £10 x 3 (High Commendation).

Publication: The winners and commended poems will receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine.

Fees: £4/1 poem, £7/2 poems, £9/3 poems, £11/4 poems, £12/5 poems, £16/7 poems, £22/10 poems.

Judge: Oz Hardwick

Enter online and pay securely by PayPal or download an Entry Form for postal entry at:


Send Cheques/Postal orders payable to SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT with poems, Entry Form or Cover Note to Sentinel Poetry Movement, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB, United Kingdom.