Angela Meyer - Mslexia Novella Competition 2018 winner

Angela Meyer, ‘Joan Smokes

‘I was at Sydney airport heading home to Melbourne and busy and flustered when Debbie called to tell me I had won the Mslexia Novella Competition. My heart just about leaped out of my chest. I couldn’t believe it was real. I’d been busy, frantic, and was so tired, and this news felt relieving, and a reminder to keep trying, doing my best, and pushing for space and time to do what I love. This novella, Joan Smokes, was the first piece I wrote after finishing what became my début novel, A Superior Spectre, which is also due to come out in the UK this year. So the timing also seemed incredible. I was actually longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition way back in 2011, and though that novel was never published, it was one of the most encouraging moments in my young literary life. I’m so grateful for Mslexia and the opportunities they have given me!’

ANGELA MEYER is a Melbourne-based blogger, reviewer, editor, whiskey connoisseur and writer of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her début novel A Superior Spectre came out (in Australia) last year. 


What did the judge say?

‘There is so much to admire in Joan Smokes – the winning entry of the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition. Its pared-back brittle language is as stark as the Nevada landscape. It’s a sophisticated piece of writing, in which the author pushes at the boundaries of language and form; anguish and suffering are evoked at every turn, in thwarted rhythms and rough syntax. But the real magic is in how the author puts the reader so surely in the protagonist’s shoes. It feels like a cliché to say that good writing should ‘suck you into another psyche’ as Barbara Kingsolver puts it, but empathy is what we all need more of, especially now. As an act of empathy, as well as a beautifully rendered work of literature, Joan Smokes shines.’
ELOISE MILLAR, co-founder of, and editor at, Galley Beggar Press. 

Congratulations to the other finalists!

  • Kaddy Benyon, Lumi
  • Han Smith, Periferia
  • Jenny Vulgar, In a Strange Land
'Just read Ann Abineri's January Flash Card in #LittleMs @Mslexia. #BOOM #Fabulouswriting. Deserves more than £20! #genius'