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Mslexia Women's Short Story Competition
women's short story competition 2015
For stories of up to 2,200 words in length on any subject.
1st prize: £2,000
Plus two optional extras: a week's writing retreat at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre*, and a day with a Virago editor*
2nd prize £500
3rd prize £250
Three other finalists each receive £100
All winning stories will be published in Mslexia magazine
Judge: Alison MacLeod
Closing date: 16 March 2015
Please read the competition rules before entering.
About the 2015 judge
Alison MacLeod is a novelist, short story writer and essayist. Her novel Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Books), was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize and selected as one of The Observer’s 'Books of the Year'. She is also the author of the short story collection Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Penguin, 2007). In 2008 she was awarded the Society of Authors’ Prize for Short Fiction, in 2011 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, and in 2012 she was long-listed for The International Sunday Times EFG Short Story Awards. Alison is also Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester
*The Tŷ Newydd retreat is accommodation only; dates should be agreed between Tŷ Newydd and the competition winner. The date of the Virago mentoring session should be agreed between Virago and the competition winner. The winner is responsible for any other expenses involved with attending the Tŷ Newydd retreat and the day with a Virago editor, i.e. travel, food, etc. The prizes must be taken by 31 May 2016.
mslexia women's Short story competition 2014 - Winners announced!
1st Prize: Jackie Brewster with 'The fox club'
2nd Prize: Ruth Hayhurst with 'The date mate'
3rd Prize: Christine Cochrane with 'Shifting sands'
Three other finalists: Kate Coffey with 'Homesickness', Joanna Campbell with 'When Saturday Stopped' and Ailsa Thom with 'Midwinter Dreaming'.
All six winning stories, and the judge's essay, are published in issue 62 of Mslexia, available now.
If you would like to receive reminders about next year's competition, click here sign up to the Mslexia Updates mailing list.
"I've been floating on a little cloud ever since I received the phone call to tell me that ‘The Fox Cub’ had won the Mslexia Short Story Competition. To be honest, for days afterwards I half expected another call to say there had been the most embarrassing mix up. I'm generally not organised enough to enter writing competitions, but, as I'm a big fan of Mslexia, I wrote the story specifically for this competition. I thought it was good enough to enter, but I never dreamed it was good enough to win.”
– Jackie Brewster
The 2014 Judge
"Of the hundreds of submitted stories, 16 ended up in my ‘Yes’ pile – and they all stayed there for several days. This was because they all had some of the qualities I was looking for: they were ambitious in terms of theme and subject matter, or adventurous in terms of style; they had characters I believed in; they used language with precision; they offered an insight into another person’s experience or another world; they had settings which were well evoked and served the story; they were economically written; they were well-constructed; they used point of view effectively. Not all of the 16 had all of these qualities, but they all had enough of them to engage me and to make these stories linger in my mind, continuing to unfold and resonate after I had finished reading."
JANE ROGERS has published eight novels, written original television and radio drama, and adapted her own and others’ work for radio and TV. Her novels include Mr Wroe’s Virgins, Island, The Voyage Home and The Testament of Jesse Lamb, which won the 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award and was longlisted for the 2011 ManBooker prize. She also writes short stories and was shortlisted in the BBC National Short Story Competition 2009. Writing awards include the Somerset Maugham Award, Writers’ Guild Best Fiction Book, BAFTA nomination best drama serial. She has taught writing to a wide range of students, and is Professor of Writing on the MA course at Sheffield Hallam University, and a mentor for Gold Dust.
LISTEN TO THE 2012 WINNING STORY
"My baby’s mine, come out of me. I can’t see her face but her hair! There’s so much of it, sticks up like a hedgehog. I see nurse give it a stroke. Feels lovely I bet. They never let me touch her."
The beautiful and haunting story 'What goes around' by Tamsin Cottis is now available to listen to for free at Short Story Radio! The story is narrated by Lisa Armytage.
How to win a short story competition
We have taken the advice from a range of past judges of short stories and compiled it into a selection of top tips that give you some insider information into what short story judges are looking for when they're reading through all those submissions – and what to do to stand out. Click here to find out more.
FIVE YEARS OF THE MSLEXIA SHORT STORY COMPETITION
- The Starving Ghost by Francesca Armour-Chelu (Janice Galloway – 2013)
- What goes around by Tamsin Cottis (Tessa Hadley – 2012) (Listen to this story on Short Story Radio)
- Concessions by Cate Bailey (Jackie Kay – 2011)
- Love: A Painting by Sarah Klenbort (Tracy Chevalier – 2010)
- Wiggy by Beda Higgins (Helen Simpson – 2009)