GEORGE SZIRTES, one of the leading living poets writing in English, is to judge a poetry competition on the theme of Constellations as part of the Ealing Autumn Festival 2014.

The festival is inspired by the 450th anniversary of the birth of Galileo, the stargazer and astronomer.

Mr Szirtes is an experienced judge and himself the recipient of major awards, including the prestigious T S Eliot Prize for Poetry.

The competition is open to anyone, with cash prizes totalling £500. There are two categories, including one for 18 years and under. The winning poems will be published on the Ealing Autumn Festival website.

Gillian Spragg, the festival’s artistic director, said: “Constellations is an inspiring theme. Looking at the stars always sparks something special in the imagination.”

Mr Szirtes will announce the winners and present the prizes on Tuesday, October 21, when he will be taking the stage at the Ealing Autumn Festival with an event entitled George Szirtes and a Family in Artistic Collaboration.

Competition winners will also be invited to read their poems at this event.

Closing date for entries for the competition is 5pm, Monday, September 8.

Further information: Ealing Autumn Festival is organized by West London Arts Scene, of Milton Road, Hanwell, a not-for-profit company promoting arts, culture, heritage, science and educational activites.