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Competitions

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Seven career-changing opportunities

Over the years Mslexia has developed a portfolio of highly respected competitions that have propelled many women’s writing careers to the next level. 

Winners, and finalists have discovered that being placed in a Mslexia competition can make a huge difference to how their work is perceived. Our finalists have signed multi-book deals, been awarded grants, achieved agent representation and had their entries broadcast on national radio. Just mentioning a Mslexia longlisting in a cover letter will make the recipient sit up and take notice.

As well as generous cheques, the prizes we offer include publication, career mentoring, manuscript feedback, pitching workshops, and personal introductions to agents and editors. For many the results have been life-changing.

‘The Mslexia Novel Competition was my first big ‘yes’ as a writer, and this summer my agent sold it in a 10-house auction’ Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock

‘My winning pamphlet led to the publication of my first full collection The Disappearing Room (Arc Publications), and my second, The Night We Were Dylan Thomas, published in May 2021. I feel sure that had I not won the Mslexia competition, many of the poems in these books would not have been written.' Mara Bergman

We currently run two annual poetry competitions (for single poem and poetry pamphlet), two annual short fiction competitions (for short story and flash fiction), two biennial novel competitions (for adult novels and novels for children and young adults), and one biennial memoir competition. Scroll down to the Explore panel for details and entry instructions. We operate a sponsored entry scheme for low-income women. 

Explore

Open for Entries

Our 2022 competitions are open! Enter our Children's & YA Novel Competition with the first 3,000 words of your manuscript. Submit complete short fiction of up to 3,000 for our Short Story Competition; and our Flash Fiction Competition is open to stories of up to 300 words. Closing date: 19 September.

Novel (Children's & Young Adult)

Submit the first 3,000 words of your novel, which must be more than 20,000 words, for children and/or young adult readers. Judges: Cressida Cowell, Imogen Russell Williams, Chloe Seagar. Prize: £5,000; winner and three finalists receive manuscript feedback from TLC and personal introductions to literary agents via New Writing North. Closing date: 19 September.

Short Story

Our 2022 short story competition is open! Submit short stories of no more than 3,000 words. Judge: Diana Evans. Prize: £3,000; three finalists will be awarded £100 each. The winner and finalists will be published in Mslexia, with eight additional finalists, along with the four winners, appearing in our ebook anthology Best Women's Fiction 2022. Closing date: 19 September.

Flash Fiction

Our 2022 flash fiction competition is open! Submit complete short fiction, no more than 300 words. Judge: Audrey Niven. Prize: £500; three finalists will receive £50 each. The winner and finalists will be published in Mslexia, with eight additional finalists, along with the four winners, being published in our ebook anthology Best Women's Short Fiction 2022. Closing date: 19 September.

Entry Instructions

Are self-published manuscripts eligible? How do you define ‘unpublished’? We spell out the eligibility criteria and instructions for entering all of our competitions.

Meet the Winners

Browse the most recent winners of our seven main competition categories: a snapshot of excellence as assessed by the individual criteria and idiosyncratic tastes of our latest group of expert judges.

Competitions Policy

Can I enter another competition at the same time? What happens to my manuscript? Do you announce the names of shortlist? We treat your work with the same respect we would wish for our own writing.