Evil, Suffering, and Hope: Guidelines for poetry submissions

The theme of this exhibition event is Evil, Suffering, and Hope. The theme is especially relevant during a time when many of us have experienced some form of adversity. The pandemic seems an obvious candidate that has impacted us all in some way. While the persistence of genocide, occupation, and war throughout the world makes us extremely distraught. The effects of climate change to our daily lives are also becoming increasingly apparent.

Digital image of a woman's face looking up, but eyes closed, with coloured clouds all around her

Religious traditions tend to play a significant role in how we might exercise the concept of hope in the face of such adversities. This may help us physically cope and navigate through such difficult times. It may also help provide a philosophical response and shape our understanding of such matters. We believe that the expressive power of artwork and poetry can embody religious perspectives of hope in responding to the philosophical problem of evil and suffering. We are thus seeking artists and poets to submit work that explores this theme in innovative ways. A brief introduction to the problem of evil from various traditions can be found at the Global Philosophy of Religion website. 

Why Does God or Deities Let Bad Things Happen to Good People?

What is this event about?

This exhibition event showcases an engagement between artwork, poetry, and philosophy. It aims at showcasing how the concept of hope is used by diverse religious traditions in responding to the philosophical problem of evil and suffering. It invites artists and poets to exhibit their work that is representative of this. The event will include talks and a panel discussion by philosophers from three religious traditions. It will also involve an exhibition of artwork and presentations of selected poems. 

There shall be a two-phase submission process as follows:

Phase 1:  Expression of interest to submit and qualifying round

This is the initial phase where poets express their interest of submission. A six-week period shall be given to express an interest to submit. The following documents will need to be submitted as a single PDF file to gpr-exhibition@contacts.bham.ac.uk

  1. A separate contributor’s information sheet with your full name, affiliation, short bio-note, and email address.
  2. A CV.
  3. A portfolio or webpage link exhibiting an assortment of artwork produced throughout your career. A tentative title and idea of at least three poems.
  4. A short excerpt (between 200 – 500 words) highlighting the poems connection to the selected theme ‘Evil, Suffering and Hope’.

Further Submission Details

  • We are accepting three poems from each poet.
  • Maximum 40 lines per poem. 
  • Send all your poems and additional documents as a single PDF to the following address: gpr-exhibition@contacts.bham.ac.uk
  • All work must be submitted in English.
  • The work must be your own and must not be previously published.
  • There is no charge to submit your application.
  • The closing date for entries is now extended to 22 July 2022.
  • If you have a question regarding submission guidelines, please email: gpr-exhibition@contacts.bham.ac.uk

All final submissions will be judged by a selected panel and the finalists will be notified of the outcome via email. Those who successfully qualify this round shall be authorised to produce their final pieces of poetry.

Phase 2: Final submission 

All poets who successfully qualify for phase 1 and are authorised to produce their final pieces of poetry will be required to submit by 26th September 2022. Thereafter, all finalists will be invited for the exhibition event and will have an opportunity to showcase their work.

Who is eligible?

  • Submissions are confined to UK applicants only.
  • We are especially keen to receive contributions from poets situated in the West Midlands region (although we will consider poems from further afield if it addresses the theme particularly well).
  • Poets from all backgrounds, ethnic minorities, and diverse religious communities are encouraged to submit.  
  • We are keen for contributors with a portfolio that holds assortment of poems written throughout their career.
  • Joint authorship – maximum two people.  

What will poets receive?

  • All finalists will be given a £70.00 honorarium per poem. If there are co-authors the honorarium will be shared between them.
  • Your poetry will be published in a pamphlet of the event.
  • All finalists will be invited for the exhibition event and will have an opportunity to showcase their work. Travel expenses and overnight accommodation in Birmingham will be covered.

Terms and Conditions

  • Confirm that you hold the copyright to the original poems being submitted.


The personal data you are required to provide in your application will exclusively be used to process your submission. This means it will be shared with the members of the selection panel. You will only be contacted in connection to this application. Your personal data will not be shared with anyone else.