Literary competition

Spectator competition winners: Boris Johnson in trochaic tetrameter

12 January 2020 9:30

The latest challenge invited you to add to Sam Leith’s lines about Boris Johnson, written in the metre of Longfellow’s…

Spectator competition winners: ’Twas the night before Brexit…

22 December 2019 9:28

This year’s Christmas challenge was to compose a poem entitled ‘’Twas the Night Before Brexit’. That seasonal classic ‘A Visit…

Spectator competition winners: Shakespeare on eyebrows

8 December 2019 9:30

This time round you were asked to submit Shakespeare’s newly discovered ‘Woeful ballad to his mistress’ eyebrows’, as referred to…

Spectator competition winners: ‘Toilets’ by T.S. Eliot (anagrammatic poems)

30 November 2019 9:30

The inspiration for the latest challenge — to rearrange the letters of the names of poets (e.g. Basho: ‘has B.O.’)…

Spectator competition winners: Halloween/ Occurs between/ The end of October/ And the start of not being sober: calendrical clerihews

16 November 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge was to compose clerihews about any date in the calendar. I was very grateful recently to eagle-eyed…

Spectator competition winners: ‘By Waterloo Station I sat down and…’

10 November 2019 9:30

The latest challenge called for a poem that begins ‘By Waterloo Station I sat down and…’. Some of you begged,…

Spectator competition winners: ‘It’s no go the continent, it’s no go the Riviera…’ Poems about Thomas Cook

3 November 2019 9:30

The latest challenge, a mournful nod to the recently defunct 178-year-old travel company, called for poems about Thomas Cook. The…

Spectator competition winners: 50 ways to leave the White House

27 October 2019 9:30

This week’s assignment was to write the lyrics to a song entitled ‘50 Ways to Leave the White House’. While…

Spectator competition winners: ‘Bloody men are like bloody rockets’: famous poets on the Apollo 11 moon landing

20 October 2019 9:30

For the latest competition you were invited to step into the shoes of well-known poets and give their reflections on…

Spectator competition winners: poems about the yellowhammer

13 October 2019 9:30

For the latest competition you were invited to submit a poem about yellowhammers. This sparrow-sized songbird has inspired poetry from…

Spectator competition winners: monstrous short stories

6 October 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge, inspired by Joan Didion’s wonderful essay of that title, was to write a short story with the…

Spectator competition winners: Speeches as sonnets

29 September 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge was to recast a famous political speech as a sonnet. Lots of you opted for Elizabeth I’s…

Spectator competition winners: Mogg-friendly memos

22 September 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge was to submit an extract from a government memo whose language would meet with the approval of…

Spectator competition winners: ‘If you don’t whistle the correct tune, you may get maltweeted’: 21st-century fables

14 September 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge was to come up with a fable for the 21st century, complete with moral. James Michie, my…

Spectator competition winners: If Shakespeare had been an estate agent

7 September 2019 8:30

The latest competition called for estate agents’ details in the style of a well-known author. Highlights, in a cracking entry,…

Spectator competition winners: acrostic politicians

2 September 2019 11:45

The latest challenge called for an acrostic poem about a politician in which the first letter of each line spells…

Spectator competition winners: William McGonagall on Magaluf

18 August 2019 9:03

Your latest challenge was to imagine William Topaz McGonagall’s poetic response to Magaluf. McGonagall was much taken with the town…

Spectator competition winners: Dylan Thomas does the ‘Hokey-Cokey’

12 August 2019 11:40

Jeff Brechlin’s inspired ‘Hokey-Cokey’ rewritten as a Shakespearean sonnet prompted this week’s invitation, to filter the song through the pen…

Spectator competition winners: ‘No milksop this, the Tories’ favourite son…’ (remaking Milton)

27 July 2019 9:30

For the latest challenge you were invited to provide a sonnet with the following end rhymes (taken from Milton’s Sonnet…

Elizabeth Bennett reads her letter from Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Spectator competition winners: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ meets Pride and Prejudice (literary mash-ups)

20 July 2019 10:37

The germ for the latest challenge —to provide an extract that is a mash-up of two well-known works of literature…