Tricia Cresswell - Mslexia Novel Competition 2019 winner

Tricia Cresswell, ‘A Stranger Place

The week started with joy about the safe birth of our first grandchild.  After that was the sadness of not being able to travel 340 miles to see him and his parents.  Then Debbie called and I was shocked, incoherent, and later almost guilty.  Four months ago this would have been fantastic news, life changing, but all our lives are already changed and I am back at work with Public Health England.  COVID-19 dominates everything.

Looking to the future, the huge positives for me are the endorsement that the novel is readable alongside the opportunity to work with such a respected agent as Charlotte Robertson.  Now I can call myself a writer!  Thank you Mslexia.

TRICIA CRESSWELL is a public health expert recently tasked with planning the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination in the North of England. She achieved a Distinction in her Creative Writing MA at Newcastle University and is currently working with other writers at Alnwick Playhouse creating responses to the climate emergency. 


What did the judges say?

‘This novel really stood out: a brilliantly executed double narrative with something serious to say about women in society.’ LOUISE DOUGHTY, NOVELIST

‘The characters are so well portrayed, from the poorest servant to the richest titled woman. The plot twists kept me guessing throughout.’ NICOLA HOLLOWAY, BBC RADIO PRODUCER

‘I loved it. It’s so clever, and I really believed in all of the characters. There’s so much heart in this book.’ CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON, LITERARY AGENT


Congratulations to our four finalists!

  • Jacquie Bloese, The Watcher of Hauteville House
  • Wei Ting Jen, When You Turn Away
  • Lucie Brownlee, The Mother
  • Vandana Sehrawat, Becoming A Brave Girl in Gajpur of Delhi


Congratulations to our shortlist!

  • Sarah Hegarty, Woman of the Forest
  • Anna Sherwin, The Language of Birds
  • Ruth Mason, The Gospel According to Mallory Blake
  • Fiona McCashin, Johns
  • Olivia Rana, Black Beach
  • Charlotte Haines, Heavenly Bodies


'Just read Ann Abineri's January Flash Card in #LittleMs @Mslexia. #BOOM #Fabulouswriting. Deserves more than £20! #genius'