It's been a while since I took a look around the new markets and free competitions, so it's high time I did a round-up. What follows is a mixed bag of creative non-fiction, travel writing, plays, novels and themed science fiction. Check out all of them, because even if a genre isn't normally your thing, you might just find something that sparks your creative instincts and gives your brain a work-out while you're digesting the Christmas dinner. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

* If you're very quick or have something suitable in your back catalogue, you can enter the Navigator Round the World competition for a piece up to 2,500 characters long and three related images about your most memorable travel experience. The closing date is 31st December.
* The Senior Travel Expert competition on a theme of 'travel and water' also closes on 31st December. It can be fact or fiction up to 750 words.
* The Matador novel competition closing on 31st December wants the first chapter up to 10,000 words and a synopsis up to 300 words of a novel.
* Imaginate's competition on the theme 'earth' has categories for short stories, flash fiction, poetry and non-fiction, and closes on 1st January.
* Science fiction up to 750 words is sought for the Brilliant Flash Fiction competition, closing on 15th January.
* Harpers Bazaar has a competition for short stories up to 3,000 words on the theme 'The Jewel', closing on 21st January.
* Gollancz is open to submissions of complete SF, fantasy, horror or YA novels of 80,000 words or more between 4th and 22nd January.
* Red Planet is looking for the first 10 pages of an hour long television screenplay that could be developed into a series between 4th and 22nd January.
* Drip Action Theatre Trail has a closing date of 31st January for plays running between 30 and 40 minutes.