Stacey Sampson - Women's Novel Competition 2016 winner

Stacey Sampson The Salt of the Sky

‘Winning the Children’s Novel Competition is a huge affirmation for me. I’ve spent the past six years getting progressively more serious about writing and Mslexia has played a big part in that. A friend at a writing class donated some back copies to me which provided both inspiration and an insight into the professional literary world – I knew I wanted to be part of it. My first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Women’s Novel Competition and that spurred me on to keep writing, though I’ve changed tack and found a more comfortable voice in middle grade as opposed to adult fiction now. Winning this time was a fantastic pay off for all the time and energy I’ve put into improving my craft and having the endorsement of such an esteemed judging panel was the icing on the cake. I’m excited about the kudos that being a Mslexia winner brings. The 2013 placing helped me to secure my agent; I hope this time it will be publication!’

STACEY SAMPSON combines acting with teaching drama and creating plays with people of all ages and backgrounds. She was named as one of the BBC’s ‘Ones to Watch’ for 2015, and is currently completing the Jerwood Arvon Mentoring Scheme. 


What did the judges say?

‘I love the sheer inventiveness of the language, its strange vivid poetic style and the natural world metaphors’ – Anne Fine, author

‘the setting is so appealing, and the text is exceptionally gripping; a powerful book’ – Claire Wilson, Literary Agent

‘a David Almond-esque style with some wonderful lines and such a mysterious setting’ – Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller


Congratulations to the other finalists

  • Lucy Nevitt, Weregirl and Him
  • Sarah House, The Magpie Garden
  • Eleanor Holliday, Fox Girl Running
  • Sheila Adamson, I Wouldn’t Start From Here


… and to those on the shortlist

  • Helen Mackenzie, Psigns
  • Gail Hildreth, The Weight of the Sky
  • Judith Facer, The Heightened
  • Kirsty Lynam, Nubilus
  • Sarah Ann Juckes, The Proof of the Outside
  • Kit Mallory, Blackout
  • Rebecca Overy, Angus McMungus and His Incredible Tea Cosy Plan


Thank you Mslexia for Little Ms - what a lovely lunchtime read. And I feel more informed about all things writing too!