* Novelist Margaret Atwood and poet Simon Armitage are to judge the University of North London's creative writing competition for A-level, GNVQ and BTEC students in London schools and colleges. Entrants are invited to submit poems, a short story up to 2,000 words or a 10-minute script by February 14 for the chance of winning a cash prize and up to pound;1,000-worth of books for their school. Details: Julie McGrath, marketing office, University of North London, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB, tel: 0171 753 5074; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org lThe Mencap National Schools Spellathon takes place in February. Teachers from mainstream andspecial needs primary schools registering for the scheme receive a free pack containing three lists of words aimed at different ability levels. Pupils learn 50 words and are sponsored for every one spelt correctly. Details: Mencap National Schools Spellathon 1999, Mencap, Freepost, London EC1B 1AA or tel: 0645 777 779.