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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

‘Since winning the Poetry Competition I’ve had a pamphlet and first collection published’ Mel Pryor, author of Small Nuclear Family

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 2020 competitions are closed, but will open again on 1 June with our Women’s Fiction Competition 2021, with three categories: adult novel, short story and flash fiction.

Novel (Adult)

We run our adult Novel Competition for women writers every two years. Past judges include Philippa Gregory, Louise Doughty, Val McDermid, Jenni Murray and Sarah Waters.

Novel (Children's & Young Adult)

We run our Children’s & Young Adult Novel Competition for women writers every two years. The competition will open again on 1 June 2022. Past judges include Malory Blackman, Anne Fine, Katherine Rundell and Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

Poetry (Single Poem)

This annual competition will open again on 1 September 2021 with a closing date of 6 December. Previous judges include Carol Ann Duffy, Jo Shapcott, Wendy Cope, Kathleen Jamie and Karen McCarthy Woolf.

Poetry (Pamphlet)

This annual competition will open again on 1 September 2021 with a closing date of 6 December. This competition is intended to act as a stepping-stone for poets en route to publication of a full-length collection.

Short Story

Our 2021 Women’s Short Story Competition will open on 1 June, with a closing date of 20 September. Previous judges include Sarah Hall, Irenosen Okije, Deborah Levy, Tessa Hadley, Jane Rogers and Janice Galloway.

Flash Fiction

Our 2021 Women’s Flash Fiction Competition will open on 1 June, with a closing date of 20 September. Previous judges include Kit de Waal, Meg Pokrass, Kathy Fish and Ingrid Jendrzejewski.

Memoir and Life Writing

We run our Memoir & Life Writing Competition for women writers every two years. The competition will open again on 1 June 2022. Previous judges include Kate Clanchy, Julie Myerson, Jenny Brown and Isobel Dixon.

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.

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.