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Investigation

Competitionrss

Problem child

22 November 2014

In Competition No. 2874 you were invited to submit a scene written by a well-known children’s author of the past in which a character grapples with a 21st-century problem. Pamela… Read more

Concrete poem

15 November 2014

In Competition No. 2873 you were invited to submit a poem in praise or dispraise of a well-known building. It was a strong entry this week and Alanna Blake, Philip… Read more

Thanks but no thanks

8 November 2014

In Competition No. 2872 you were invited to submit an author’s acknowledgments page that contains subtle indications that no thanks at all are due to those mentioned. E.E. Cummings does… Read more

Two hander

1 November 2014

In Competition No. 2871 you were invited to submit a dialogue in verse between man and God. The tone of the discourse was far from cordial, ranging from boredom and… Read more

Autumn villanelle

25 October 2014

In Competition No. 2870 you were invited to submit an autumn villanelle. Stephen Fry likes villanelles. The form inspired him to write his book The Ode Less Travelled (subtitled Unlocking… Read more

Spooner verse

18 October 2014

In Competition No. 2869 you were invited to submit a poem on any theme as it might have been written by the diminutive, myopic warden of New College, Oxford Revd… Read more

Magic touch

11 October 2014

In Competition No. 2868 you were invited to take something mundane and filter it through the lens of magic realism. I have been meaning to set this comp since the… Read more

And another thing

4 October 2014

In Competition No. 2867 you were invited to add a final stanza to a well-known poem. Nicholas Stone imagined how Coleridge might have continued had it not been for the… Read more

Prose poem

27 September 2014

In Competition No. 2866 you were invited to pick a well-known poem and write a short story with the same title using the poem’s opening and closing lines to begin… Read more

Selfie

20 September 2014

In Competition No. 2865 you were invited to compose a poet’s elegy for him or herself. This challenge took you down a path trod by poor Chidiock Tichborne, who wrote… Read more

Hidden benefits

13 September 2014

In Competition No. 2864 you were invited to submit an imaginary feature from a newspaper’s health pages extolling the benefits to wellbeing of something traditionally thought to be bad for… Read more

Rhyme time

6 September 2014

In Competition No. 2863 you were invited to recast a well-known nursery rhyme in the style of a well-known author. The entry was evenly split between prose and poetry but… Read more

Dark thoughts

30 August 2014

In Competition No. 2862 you were invited to submit a poetic preview of when the lights go out. Submissions were impressively varied this week, and kept me thoroughly entertained. Honourable… Read more

Tourist misinformation

23 August 2014

In Competition No. 2861 you were invited to submit misleading snippets of advice for British tourists travelling abroad. A previous invitation to unleash a tide of misinformation on unsuspecting foreign… Read more

Pet sounds

16 August 2014

In Competition No. 2860 you were invited to submit a short ode on the death of a pet in unusual circumstances. I was prompted to set this challenge by Thomas… Read more

Voter repellent

9 August 2014

In Competition No. 2859 you were invited to submit an offputting party political broadcast by the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens or Ukip. Basil Ransome-Davies wasn’t alone in… Read more

Hidden talent

2 August 2014

In Competition No. 2858 you were invited to imagine that a well-known figure from 20th-century history was a secret poet and to submit a recently discovered example of their versifying.… Read more

Spinning Jenny

26 July 2014

In Competition No. 2857 you were invited to take the first line of Leigh Hunt’s mini rondeau ‘Jenny Kissed me’, substitute another word for ‘kissed’ and continue for up to… Read more

Soccer lesson

19 July 2014

In Competition No. 2856 you were invited to recruit a well-known author of your choice to give Phil Neville a masterclass in the art of football commentary. After his commentary… Read more

milk

Dead-end job

12 July 2014

In Competition No. 2855 you were invited to compose an elegy for an endangered profession. Estate agents, travel agents, publishers, record company executives; all have seen their livelihoods put in… Read more

Fresh food

5 July 2014

In Competition No. 2854 you were invited to invent a title for a new cookery book, with a fresh angle, and supply a publisher’s blurb. When it comes to the… Read more

Ground work

28 June 2014

In Competition No. 2853 you were asked to incorporate the following words (they are real geological terms) into a piece of plausible and entertaining prose so that they acquire a… Read more

Unlikely champion

21 June 2014

In Competition No. 2852 you were invited to step into the shoes of a well-known writer of your choice and submit a poem or piece of prose in praise or… Read more

Paxmanic

14 June 2014

In Competition No. 2851 you were invited to mark Jeremy Paxman’s departure from Newsnight by supplying an extract from an interview with a politician or statesman in which the interviewer… Read more

Proverbial

7 June 2014

In Competition No. 2850 you were invited to invent proverbs that sound profound but have no meaning. This was an extremely popular competition, which attracted an enormous entry. It was… Read more