[Closed] OPEN CALL: 1st Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards

April 24, 2021


The Open Call for the 1st Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards 2020 is CLOSED.

Calling all queer & feminist poets and spoken word artists in the Netherlands and around.

The 1st Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards by Unwanted Words are a moment to recognize the talent and excellence in our community. The Awards are a non-for-profit celebration of the best and most outstanding poets and spoken word artists whose works discuss topics of feminism and the queer experience from an intersectional perspective, centering on diversity and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) voices.

We invite LGBTQ+ & feminist poets, writers, spoken word artists in Rotterdam and its surroundings to submit their applications to win an award in one of our six categories.

The Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards are organized by Unwanted Words Project, an award-winning platform for up & coming queer voices working with poetry and spoken word based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. With the support of the Hang-Out 010, Awesome Foundation Rotterdam, Dona Daria and WORM.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their works for one or more categories for a chance to participate and win one of the Awards. Please be sure to read all information about the call before submitting in your application, the deadlines and requirements are detailed down below.

The deadline for applications: Sunday September 6th 2020.

1. Objectives

The Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards have the aspiration to provide a stage for LGBTQ+ and feminist poets, writers, spoken word artists in Rotterdam and its surroundings and invite them to contribute to the body of poetry of BIPOC experiences, LGBTQ+ life, feminism(s) and (political) queerness. 

The Award aims to:

  • Celebrate original work from this intersectional community.
  • Sow seeds of interest, inspiration and enthusiasm about Queer and Feminist poetry.
  • Emphasise marginalised voices from any perspective through poetry and spoken word.
  • Provide a stage for LGBTQ+ and feminist poets, writers, spoken word artists to perform, be celebrated and be heard, through online and offline audience engagement.
  • To cultivate the promotion of LGBTQ+ and feminist poets, writers, spoken word artists to a broader audience.

2. The Categories:

There are two types of categories: Showcase and Nomination


Four winners will be chosen during the night of the event by the jury after performing live. Participants can apply to the following categories and perform their piece during the showcase block of the Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards:

1. Best Queer Performance: Give us a taste of your queerness, your authentic defiance of heteronormativity or your flawless criticism of cisgenderism. This award will be given to a performer with a compelling delivery and an authentic portrayal of LGBTQ+ experiences.

2. Best Feminist Performance: Let us hear your hxstory, your notions of sex and gender, critique of sexism or how you aim to destroy the ills of patriarchy, one poem at a time. This award will be given to a poet/spoken word artist with a message that honors the feminist movement and delivers it through a compelling performance. 

3. The BIPOC Voice Award: This Award is an ode to anti-racism and the ultimate middle finger to white supremacy. Highlight your hxstory, heritage or personal experiences, express your frustration over colorism and discrimination, share how much you love your melanin, and carry us away with your beautiful words. This category is reserved for members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color community.

4. The Awesome Poet Award: A.K.A. The Audience Choice Award. Make your best impression to the audience, because they will choose the winner on the night of the event, based on the performances seen during the Awards Showcase. Participants from any category in the showcase can be eligible. This award is powered by the Awesome Foundation Rotterdam and the trustees that helped make this Awards a reality. 

Click here to apply to the Showcase!


Nominate yourself or someone you know! The jury will determine a group of finalists based on each category’s criteria and the winner will be announced on the night of the event. Participants will not have to perform live but will be asked to send extra documentation for their application:

  1. Podium (Event) of the Year: In honour of poetry, we support poetry! From the togetherness in a cafe or the academic corners of a library, this award recognizes the best event, podium or open mic that provides a space for LGBTQ+ and/or feminist performers to showcase their talent! Nominate your event or that other events you love, the judges will decide on a winner presented during the Queer & Feminist Awards.

5. Poet of the YearThis award goes out to a trailblazer, someone who embodies their work, provides an excellent delivery and a message with an impact. Nominate your work or that of someone you know. This is the most prestigious award of the night and the winner will become the official ambassador of the next edition of the Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards. Give us a reason why you or your nominee is a great ambassador for our community.

We will notify the finalists in advance to make sure of their availability for the event. In case you cannot come to the Awards or you are concerned for the COVID-19 regulations, we can accommodate your application to make sure you participate remotely or online.

Click here to apply to the Nominations!

3. Who can participate? 

Everybody is welcome to participate regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. To be eligible for an award, your work needs to cover topics of feminism(s) and/or the LGBTQ+ experience. 

However, The Awards take an open stance against racism, islamophobia, transphobia and any other form of discrimination. We are a pro-black, pro-feminist celebration and support the Black Lives Matter movement. If your beliefs, discourse or work promotes hate speech, discrimination or shares views that compromise people’s wellbeing and human rights, we reserve the right to deny participation and entry to the event in order to make sure we provide a space that is as safe, inclusive and participatory as possible.

Participants from any nationality and immigration status are welcome, but you must reside within the Netherlands or around. The Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards will not cover transportation costs for the participants to the Awards Ceremony.

Participants can apply in English or Dutch. However, the event will be held in English.

4. How to apply?

Every participant must submit their application online through our official form with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Stage name
  • Pronouns
  • Contact details
  • Social Media handle (Instagram)
  • The category(ies) to which you’re applying
  • Bio: A short description of yourself as a performer. 3-5 lines describing your style, achievements and relevant information about yourself.
  • A portrait or photo of you/your stage persona
  • Written transcript: Your spoken word piece or poem in written form.
  • (Optional) Performance: A 2-5min. video (.MP4) of you performing a spoken word piece or poem that corresponds to the category(ies) to which you’re applying.

We will not take the quality of the video into consideration for your application. If you do not feel comfortable showing your face on the video for privacy reasons, feel free to get creative in how much you show their identity/face in the video. Only requirement is that it must be you who is performing the piece.

Submissions do not have to be new or unpublished to be eligible. But the pieces must be original work written and performed by the artist that is participating. Covers or renditions of work from other artists are not allowed. 

Click here to apply for the Showcase!

Participants can apply to more than one category at the same time but they can only be eligible to win ONE (1) award. Meaning there will only be one award per participant to make sure more people have a chance to win.

We request you send your application and submission in English. But your poem or spoken word piece can be in English or Dutch.

Special requirements:

For the categories of Podium of the Year & Poet of the Year we ask for extra documentation so the jury can make a decision:

Podium of the Year 

Your event has been busy creating opportunities for other performers and we want to recognize your efforts. To do so, please tell us more about your podium by submitting a document in PDF listing the following:

Podium (Event) of the Year

  • Name and description of the Event
  • Year of creation
  • Intended audience 
  • Social Media accounts & website
  • How does your event offer a platform for LGBTQ+ and/or feminist artists?
  • How many editions has your event had?
  • How many artists have performed on your podium?
  • Why do you think your podium should be awarded?
  • Photo or video footage of your event
  • (Optional) Links or screenshots of press & media coverage.

Poet of the Year

This Award is our most prestigious category and we want to acknowledge the work of a poet and artist whose work has had an impact in the community. To do so, along with the rest of the information in the application form and your video performance, please submit a document in PDF listing the following:

  • A brief description of your trajectory as a poet or spoken word artist.
  • How does your work embody the  LGBTQ+ and/or Feminist experience?
  • How has your work inspired or impacted your community?
  • Photo or video footage of previous performances
  • (Optional) Links or screenshots of press & media coverage.
  • (Optional) Other awards you have received

The Poet of the Year is not necessarily the most experienced or awarded applicant. But rather, the artist that reflects the values of the Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards the best and can be a beacon of hope and inspiration for their community.

The deadline for applications is Sunday September 6th 2020.

If you have any questions or comments about your application and submission, feel free to contact us at hello@unwantedwords.com.

5. Rewards

The winners of the categories will get a coveted spot in the Queer & Feminist Poetry Hall of Fame and an engraved trophy to commemorate your win. Their work will be featured on our online platforms and exclusive invitations to perform at multiple podiums.

Poet of the Year: Trophy + Paid performance at the Spoken Awards at New Luxor Theater in December 2020 powered by the Spoken Awards.

The BIPOC Voice Award: Trophy + Paid performance at the Spoken Awards at New Luxor Theater in December 2020 powered by the Spoken Awards.

Best Feminist Performance: Trophy + Paid performance at the Spoken Awards at New Luxor Theater in December 2020 powered by the Spoken Awards..

Best Queer Performance: Trophy + Paid performance at Armenias’ International Coming Out Day Event on October 11th powered by Dona Daria.

The Awesome Poet Award: Trophy + Invitation to headline the Queer Poetry Nights #12 powered by the Awesome Foundation Rotterdam.

Podium of the Year: Trophy & partnership offer with Unwanted Words.

All participants will get an automatic invitation to be featured of the1st Queer & Feminist Poetry Anthology set to be published in Spring 2021. Winners will get a special section and interview on the anthology.

If the winners decline the performance opportunities, the invitation will be offered to the runner-ups.

6. Procedure & timeline

The procedure is as follows:

  • Open call live: Wednesday August 4th 2020.
  • Submission of applications by Sunday September 6th 2020, 18.00hrs. CET.
  • Check on completeness of applications by Unwanted Words team.
  • Jury meets to evaluate applications.
  • Preselection of participants for each category by Friday September 11th by the jury.
  • Selected applicants are invited to participate in the showcase, invitations expected to go out between the 10-14th of September.
  • Announcement of finalists on Social Media: 14-20th of September.
  • The Award announcement and ceremony takes place on Sunday September 27th as part of the Pride of Color 2020 celebrations at WORM.

7. Jury

The 1st Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards jury will consist of of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ experienced writers. Unwanted Words will not be judging or be part of a jury process.

Unwanted Words - 1st Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards Jury
  1. Sandy Bosmans (@sandybosmans) from @poetrycircle.

Sandy loves sharing her work as a spoken word artist. She has previously appeared on stages such as “de nieuwe liefde “, “woorden worden zinnen” and “Pagina groots”. In 2014 she became a member of the poetry circle where she has since been appointed as a coach. As a Poetry Slammer, she reached the semifinal of the NK poetry slam in 2016. In 2017, the spoken word platform is created in collaboration with good friends: “Art Harder”. In 2019 she writes her first play for ‘new pieces’: Thuiskomen. She also played in the theater and spoken word performance RAUW v / v. You can find her writing in the book called “en ze leefde nig”. And the anthology “Hardop”. Her work is about universally shared feelings and / or events. Ultimately she writes to share what you learn (from your mistakes) in this life and hopefully others will benefit from that too.

2. Silvana Sodde (@silvanasodde) from @thewritersguidetothegalaxy

Silvana Sodde studied literature and has been working in Rotterdam’s cultural scene for more than a decade. At the moment she is the driving force behind The Writer’s Guide (to the Galaxy), a centre for written word which offers courses, workshops and other writing activities. She’s interested in the intersection between writing/literature and politics/activism, all from a feminist perspective.

3. Zaïre Krieger (@zairekrieger), winner of @spoken.fm 2019

Zaïre is a bachelor of laws, a journalist, interviewer, opinion piece writer, and a spoken word artist in both Dutch and English. She is a master and bender of words in any sphere; whether academic or creative. As a journalist she’s written for Oneworld Magazine, Ms Motley, Dipsaus and the VARAGids, as a Spoken Word Artist she’s performed at Van Gogh Museum, TEDxAmsterdamWomen, as well as winner of a Spoken Word Awards 2019 (category Gospel). Human Rights form the foundation of her work, in the personal as well as the legal.

8. Submission

The Queer and Feminist Awards 2020 application can be found on the website of Unwanted Words (www.unwantedwords.com). Only applications done through the official form will be taken into account.

You will receive a confirmation of receipt no later than 10 working days after you submitted your application.

Privacy note: Unwanted Words will use your personal data only for the Queer & Feminist Poetry Awards competition of 2020 and further notifications regarding the process and upcoming related events. Your personal data will not be shared with any other parties except for the relevant information for the jury of the Award ceremony.

Click here to apply for the Showcase!

Click here to apply for the Nominations!

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