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i Editor's Letter: Take part in our next iWriters competition

Aspire to be a writer? Fancy seeing your name in a national newspaper? Got something interesting to say? We champion fresh talent here at i, be it via our FreeView stable of columnists; Ben Jennings, the waspish cartoonist who won our Cartoonist Idol competition; or the students who earned column space in our first two iWriter exercises. Well, now it's time for the third.

As the last remaining laggards shuffle their way back to freezing universities across the land this week, it seems a good time to launch our latest new talent search. If you think you have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of Lucy Snow, Freya Berry, Alex Fusco and others, then listen up.

We would like 450 words on one of the following five relatively timeless topics: whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU; the decline of our high streets and what that means; why arts and culture matter in a recession; a defence of modern-day football; and do Britain's young study the right subjects and work hard enough? Not inspired by any of the above? Then submit one on a subject of your choice, but remember news stories such as the helicopter crash or horse meat in burgers are likely to have fallen off the news agenda by the time columns are published next month.

The delay gives you time to learn of the competition and email in your entries, and allows me to fulfil my pledge to read every entry in person. That's why we're asking for just one column this year. Last year I read more than 500 x 2 x 400 words! Remember, i is a family paper, so no swearing (it will get ****ed out), which doesn't mean no offence. email i@independent.co.uk with the word iWriters in the header. The deadline is 12 noon on Monday 28 January. Include your course and place of study. No schoolchildren, please. That's for another time. Advice? It's not an essay; columns are read voluntarily by readers who have spent 20p, not by tutors paid to do so. It's an opinion column, so don't forget to express an opinion.

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