Renee Anderson - Women's Flash Fiction Competition 2017 winner

Renee Anderson, ‘The token’

‘I was on the top floor of my house writing in bed when the phone rang. I let my husband answer it downstairs. I could hear him coming up talking and then he handed me the phone saying ‘It’s Debbie Taylor from Mslexia magazine’. I thought this is exciting. Maybe they have shortlisted me. Because the editor doesn’t ring you about your subscription, does she? But when she told me I had won, all that professional calm went out the window. I was just saying ‘Won it? Won it?’ (Well, probably yelling…) Afterwards I was walking around in a daze. I kept saying to my husband, ‘How did that happen?’

As a long-time subscriber, one of my writing goals was to be published in Mslexia in some form but to have been chosen by Kit de Waal as the winner of their first Flash Fiction competition is such an honour. It has given me a rocket boost of confidence in my work. And to think that thousands of people will be reading ‘The Token’ is beyond joy.’

RENEE ANDERSON, who lives in Farnham, Surrey, was born in Miami and has divided her adult years between England and Australia. She is a librarian and lifelong bibliophile who works at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University. Illness and work have combined to give her late start but now she just wants to spend her life telling stories. ‘The token’ is her second published work.


What did the judge say?

‘They say the definition of a classic is a story that hasn’t quite finished saying what it has to say – and the winning entry ‘The token’ is just that. It’s a story that I found myself thinking about, something about it worried itself into my consciousness until each reading was better than the first. Skilful, well crafted, a true whole short story, edited down into exactly the right shape and size. A well-deserved winner.’

KIT DE WAAL was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer, and a Caribbean father. She worked for 15 years in criminal and family law and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. Her début novel My Name is Leon has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, Desmond Elliot Prize, the British Book Awards, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Authors Award. She is also an award-winning author of flash fiction and short stories. 


Congratulations to the other finalists!

  • Emma Purshouse, ‘The Royal Doulton ladies after the house fire’
  • Sarah Taylor, ‘Barley sugars’
  • Kim Kneen, ‘Buitcheragh’
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