Rebecca Rouillard - Women's Novel Competition 2017 winner

Rebecca Rouillard, Ash and Ellyn and the Lighthouse

‘Writing a novel is a long and lonely road with no guarantees — my first novel was rejected by thirty agents. So, I wrote another one. (A better one, I hoped!) I sent it off to the Novel Competition, on a whim, with no expectations. I was surprised and thrilled to be longlisted and then shortlisted. When I received the phone call from Debbie Taylor telling me I had won, I refused to believe her at first and then burst into tears. It’s an amazing feeling when anyone appreciates something you’ve written, but to have your work acknowledged and validated in a competition of this calibre is hugely encouraging. Thanks so much to the judges: Philippa Gregory, Alex Clark and Sarah Such, for choosing my novel, and thanks to the Mslexia team—I’ve been a subscriber for many years and have always found it a brilliant resource for writing advice, inspiration and opportunities. Enter those competitions—you never know what might happen!’

REBECCA ROUILLARD is 37, has two children and lives in Surrey, where she writes freelance about interior design and reviews children’s books (she read 173 books last year). She’s passionate about open-water swimming, has a degree in Creative Writing and was Editor of the Birkbeck Writers’ Hub for four years.
Photo credit: Canbury Photography Studio



What did the judges say?

‘engaging at every level, with real-life locations overlaid with a threatening atmosphere and subtle references to social collapse’ – Philippa Gregory, Author

‘instantly engaging and deftly told, it touches upon the subject of Artificial Intelligence in a thought-provoking way’ – Sarah Such, Literary Agent

‘very well-written with excellent dialogue, and highly relevant in our post-Brexit times’ – Alex Clark, Literary Critic



Congratulations to the other finalists

  • Carolyn Kirby, Half of You

  • Brin Murray, Ghosts in the Rain

  • Abby Davies, The Doll Girl

  • Adele Ward, Everything is Free

… and to those on the shortlist

  • Gráinne Lyons, The Fun Activities Catalogue

  • Louise Ihringer, What is Lost

  • Katherine Dunn, Dangerous Remedy

  • Debbie Nuttall, Hope and Pluck

  • Nell McGrath, The Story Library of the Saints

  • Lisa Medved, Thieves in Antwerp

  • Lucie McKnight Hardy, The Creed


I love Little Ms because I can't mislay it, it's always there on my computer till the next one.
Karen Steele