Literary competition

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…

Spectator competition winners: poems with a twist

13 July 2019 9:25

The latest competition called for poems with an ingenious twist at the end. Though popular, this challenge turned out to…

Spectator competition winners: David Attenborough on the World Cup Lionesses

8 July 2019 11:23

For the latest challenge you were invited to succumb to Women’s World Cup fever and submit a fragment of commentary…

Spectator competition winners: Theresa May’s life in three limericks

30 June 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge was to encapsulate the life story of a well-known person, living or dead, in three limericks. The…

Spectator competition winners: ‘The hour is come: Now, Gods, stand up for Boris!’ (Shakespearean soliloquies from would-be prime ministers)

23 June 2019 9:30

For the latest literary challenge you were invited to submit a Shakespearean soliloquy delivered by one of the contenders for…

Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove leaves from 10 Downing Street in central London on March 20, 2018 after attending the weekly meeting of the Cabinet. Britain and the European Union on March 19 reached a landmark deal on a transition phase that will see London follow the bloc's rules for nearly two years after the Brexit divorce. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis said the agreement, which European leaders will sign at a summit this week, was a "decisive step". (Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Spectator competition winners: Gradgrind’s fan letter to Michael Gove

15 June 2019 8:27

The idea for the latest challenge — to compose a fan letter from one well-known person from the field of…