Welcome to Mslexia

With a shake of our jazziest hands, we welcome you to the third incarnation of Mslexia magazine. Issue 69 (Mar/Apr/May 2016) has been all shook up, redesigned and reformed into a thing of wonder.

So what’s in it? This new issue is about getting involved: with writing and reading, but also with pitching a novel, starting a salon, getting a reading gig and applying for a grant. We talk to Costa prizewinner Frances Hardinge about her Achilles’ heel, to TS Eliot winner Sarah Howe about her sources of inspiration, to TV writer Lucy Gannon about how she creates a new character, and storytelling supremo Jan Blake about how she translates traditional stories for a modern life audience. Then there’s Annabel Abbs with her DIY MA and two surgeries to help you get your book taken seriously, and the results of our ‘5-a-day’ and ‘triolet’ challenges. 

We also offer a HUGE congratulations and hurrah for Polly Clark, who was the winner of our 2015 Women’s Novel Competition!

Her winning novel When Auden Met Dora has now been renamed Larchfield, and will be published by Quercus March 2017.

This could be your year too, as we have three more competitions currently open for entries… 

Our Children’s Novel Competition 2016 is open now, accepting the first 3,000 words of your novel. First prize is £5,000 and this year’s panel include award-winning novelist Anne Fine, literary agent Claire Wilson and Charlotte Eyre, Children’s Editor, Bookseller. Deadline 19 September.

Prefer writing poetry? We have a Poetry Competition (first prize £2,000, judged by Liz Lochhead) and Pamphlet Competition (judged by Amy Wack of Seren Books, first prize is publication) open now! Both competitions close 13 June.

Elsewhere on the website you’ll find new ways to ways to submit, and details of what’s on in the literary world. Go and have a nosey around.

In this issue

  • Are there too many literary prizes?
  • Actors as writers
  • Create your own MA
  • Writing and dementia

Featured Writers

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Her winning novel When Auden Met Dora has now been renamed Larchfield, and will be published by Quercus March 2017.

This could be your year too, as we have three more competitions currently open for entries… 

Our Children’s Novel Competition 2016 is open now, accepting the first 3,000 words of your novel. First prize is £5,000 and this year’s panel include award-winning novelist Anne Fine, literary agent Claire Wilson and Charlotte Eyre, Children’s Editor, Bookseller. Deadline 19 September.

Prefer writing poetry? We have a Poetry Competition (first prize £2,000, judged by Liz Lochhead) and Pamphlet Competition (judged by Amy Wack of Seren Books, first prize is publication) open now! Both competitions close 13 June.

Elsewhere on the website you’ll find new ways to ways to submit, and details of what’s on in the literary world. Go and have a nosey around.

" }

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As part of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we've been collecting a slew of book recommendations, both in the office and on tinternet – a wide range of titles exploring a whole host of mental health-related themes. Some of our staff picks include:

The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait – an unsentimental, devastating, beautiful and important novel.

Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brompton – a painfully honest memoir which sums up everything many with depression have wanted to say but haven’t found the words for.

Marya Hornbacher's book 'Madness: A Bipolar Life' – chronicles being diagnosed with bipolar disorder many years after her life and health had already been irreparably been affected by it (those years are covered in Wasted).

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig – you've probably heard of this one, and there's a reason: it's very, very good. A raw, honest and genuinely funny look at depression and its effects.

Any collection by the wonderfully raw surreal and magical poet Selima Hill, but especially Bunny (bloodaxe Books), which is partly about Hill's experiences in mental hospital, but also about sexuality and her ebullient take on the natural world. No-one can match her concise funny and vivid metaphors for human experience. Her description of sexual desire involves a dog in car on a hot day...

And when we took to Twitter in search of some gems, here's what you came up with:

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell handled grief, compulsion, addiction and stress with extraordinary skill. (@betamother)

I Had a Black Dog '& Living With a Black Dog, both by Matthew Johnstone. Excellent pictorial articulations of how it feels. Rereading now! (@debspenspot)

The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway and the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (@cherryberryx)

Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allen – fantastically highlights the often illogical failings of the mental healthcare system (@Louise_Ayre)

What are your favourite books exploring mental health? Care to share?
... See MoreSee Less

Mslexia shared Abi Elphinstone's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

For all the kids sitting their SATs this week 😘 (I used to be an English teacher & I visit schools every week now. I talk to the kids about resilience, determination and grit, not just in regards t...

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