Literary competition

Spectator competition winners: ‘O Walkman! O Walkman!’

13 January 2019 9:17

The most recent challenge, suggested by Paul A. Freeman, asked for an elegy on a piece of obsolete technology. There’s…

Spectator competition winners: an alternative to ‘Auld Lang Syne’

6 January 2019 9:30

Your new year’s challenge was to supply an anthem to usher in 2019, starting with the first line of ‘Auld…

Spectator competition winners: politically correct Christmas carols

23 December 2018 9:30

The festive challenge was to submit a politically correct Christmas carol. One of Donald Trump’s election pledges was to end…

Spectator competition winners: ‘The mother of all horrors, what a comp’ (or Shakespearean characters hiding in sonnets)

9 December 2018 9:30

This fiendishly difficult challenge, to submit a sonnet with the name of a Shakespearean character hidden in each line, pulled…

Spectator competition winners: misguided love poems

2 December 2018 9:30

You seemed to embrace the latest challenge – to supply seriously misguided love poems – especially wholeheartedly, and I admired…

Spectator competition winners: the beautiful poetry of Donald Trump

24 November 2018 9:30

For this week’s challenge you were invited to submit poems by Donald Trump. The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump, which…

Spectator competition winners: Franz Kafka goes phishing

18 November 2018 9:30

The latest challenge was to submit a scam letter ghostwritten by a well-known author, living or dead. Falling for a…

Spectator competition winners: 21st-century Gothic short stories

11 November 2018 9:30

The spark for the latest challenge — to write a short story in the Gothic style with a topical twist…

Spectator competition winners: a life in sixteen lines

4 November 2018 9:30

The latest challenge, to supply a short verse biography of a well-known figure from history, produced a commendable entry in…

Spectator competition winners: Let’s get demotivated!

27 October 2018 9:00

For the latest competition you were invited to supply a demotivational poem. This was your opportunity to come up with…

Spectator competition winners: When I grow up I want to be…

21 October 2018 9:30

The performance poet Megan Beech was so incensed by the abuse heaped by Twitter trolls on her idol Mary Beard…

Spectator competition winners: These are a few of their favourite things (snowflakes’, vice chancellors’, premier league footballers’…)

14 October 2018 14:17

The idea for the latest challenge, to provide a spoof version of the song ‘My Favourite Things’ for the constituency/demographic…

Spectator competition winners: back-to-front sonnets

7 October 2018 9:30

The latest competition asked for a sonnet in reverse, modelled on Rupert Brooke’s ‘Sonnet Reversed’, which turns upside-down both the…

Spectator competition winners: Dante’s holiday from hell

30 September 2018 9:53

The seed of the latest assignment — to provide a tale of travel misery on behalf of a well-known voyager…

Spectator competition winners: Anna Karenina lives happily ever after

16 September 2018 9:30

Your latest challenge was to supply a happy ending for a well-known play, poem or novel. Nahum Tate (the worst…

Spectator competition winners: ‘a tomato is nothing more than a bordello of suggestibility’

9 September 2018 9:30

The inspiration for the latest challenge, to submit a newspaper leading article exposing the corrupting influence of a seemingly innocuous…

Spectator competition winners: pun for your life (poems about puns containing puns)

2 September 2018 9:30

The latest challenge was to submit a poem about puns containing puns. Dryden regarded paronomasia as ‘the lowest and most…

Spectator competition winners: To leave, or not to leave — that is the question: politicians soliloquise

26 August 2018 9:30

The invitation to compose a Shakespearean-style soliloquy that a contemporary politician might have felt moved to deliver was inspired by…

Spectator competition winners: ‘And did those tweets…’

13 August 2018 12:58

The latest challenge was to compose an updated version of ‘Jerusalem’ starting with the words ‘And did those tweets…’ One…

Spectator competition winners: finding the poetry in science

6 August 2018 10:00

The writer and chemist Primo Levi saw poetry in Mendeleev’s periodic table, describing it as ‘poetry, loftier and more solemn…

Spectator competition winners: misleading advice for tourists

31 July 2018 10:00

The latest challenge, to supply snippets of mischievously/sadistically misleading advice for foreign tourists visiting Britain, or for British ones travelling…

Spectator competition winners: the day the internet died

22 July 2018 12:20

Your latest challenge was to compose a short story entitled ‘The day the internet died’. Phyllis Reinhard’s Don McLean-inspired entry…

Spectator competition winners: elegy on the death of the High Street

16 July 2018 15:06

The call for elegies on the death of the High Street brought in a large entry that was poignant and…

Spectator competition winners: Winston Churchill and Donald Trump take on the role of agony uncle

8 July 2018 9:45

The latest challenge was to cast a well-known figure on the world stage, living or dead, in the role of…

Spectator competition winners: Hackety, rackety Donald and Vladimir – double dactyls about double acts

1 July 2018 9:07

The latest challenge was to compose double dactyls about double acts. I didn’t include the rules about double dactyls this…