Sunday, 12 January 2014


Deadline: 9 FEBRUARY 2014

Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.

We want to start 2014 a little feverishly, like a carnival ride, with our hats on sideways and a wink on our grins, paying tribute to one of our favourite writers and illustrators: Lewis Carroll.

We’re inviting you all to put your top hats on, dine with candelabras, sing with mice and grin at Cheshire cats. Maybe even indulge in a pen name. Perhaps invest in a feather pen and tip the clock hands back, stand on your head with your hands in your shoes – tell us something silly.

But, remember – there’s logic in nonsense, you just have to know where to look.

Lewis Carroll

Yes, we’re paying tribute to Alice in Wonderland's creator, but we’re also remembering the nonsensical wonderers who came before and after ­– Edward Lear, Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, Edward Gorey, Ivor Cutler. Take the eccentricity from each of these writers and artists, and through thick, blurry specs, you’ll see the logic and the dots the lines, the clever craft of painstakingly intelligent and illogical penmanship. 

Sometimes though, you won’t see it. Sometimes it’s just nonsense. But it’s always fun – it’s illogical logic. Are we making sense? No? Good.

Rhymes & riddles

Lewis Carroll is the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, but you all knew that. Make your own pen name. Dodgson was a tremendous mathematician, professor and photographer, there was always more than meets the eye.

Carroll also had a habit of making up words and making them stick, making them memorable and fun to roll around in our mouths – uffish, mimsy, galumphing – even more than 100 years later. He was a neologistic wizard. Try it yourself – see if it sticks. Become a portmanteau connoisseur.

Or give us riddles, puzzles, acrostics, rhymes that we can remember and say over and over again, just because it sounds nice, beats like a drum and has a steady, galloping rhythm.

Fairy tales

Of course we want fairy tales – à la Alice in Wonderland - but we don’t want the sickly, happy ever after, cupcake sort of stuff. No Once Upon a Time. Nor do we want Brothers Grimm (we’ll save that for a different theme), we want weird worlds full of characters that fizz, hiccup and chortle - the Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle, the Dodo, the rabbit.

Become a child again. Carroll, Dahl and Lear were writers that seemed to understand how to talk to children. If you've forgotten, you might need to look through the looking glass again.


Don’t be afraid to go a little outside the box, here – we welcome this with wide, Cheshire grins. Carroll was never afraid of taking Wordsworth’s words, sticking them on the wall and playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with them. Bend the rules, we’ll let you.

Better yet, have a nosey on Carroll's lesson on how to apologise to someone for standing them up. It's brilliant.

Read our submission guidelines for full details on where, what and how to submit. Read a list of our favourite things to see the sort of things we love. Even better, unlock our archive and get a taste for our style - it'll only help you in the long run. After all, we might not be your cup of tea, and we'd like to be. Like a tea tray in the sky...

We're looking for the very best illustrators, photographers, designers and artists to work with. If you think you've got what it takes, get in touch with us at

The madder, the better. And please don’t be late, we simply can’t accept your submission otherwise. Plus, you’ll upset the rabbit.

Source: Vintage Winnie

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