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Entry Instructions


Below are general eligibility criteria and instructions for entering all of our competitions. 

Specific details of the writing eligible for each separate competition, and the prizes on offer, can be found in the appropriate section of Competitions (e.g. Single Poem, Adult Novel, etc.).


Entries should not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, in print or online, by a mainstream or an independent publisher.

Self-published manuscripts entered into the novel competitions are eligible, provided they have not sold more than 500 copies.

Entries that have received a prize in any other competition are not eligible.

Entries should not be a translation of another author’s work.

You do not have to subscribe to Mslexia to be eligible, but you do have to self-identify as a woman. We will accept entries from women of any age of any nationality from any country. This includes under-18s.

No entrant may win more than one prize in any one competition. If the judge/s include more than one anonymised entry by the same writer in the winners’ list, the lower-placed entry will be eliminated to allow the maximum number of writers to win prizes. 


Published vs unpublished

Our competitions are for unpublished writing. 

By ‘published’ we mean work published in print or online, in any country,  that has been selected or commissioned via an independent editorial process that does not involve the author of the work in question. 

Work that is self-published in print is eligible, provided it has not sold more than 500 copies. If work has been viewed online by many thousands of people it is ineligible. 

The one exception is entries for our Poetry Pamphlet Competition, where we allow the manuscript to include previously published individual poems and individual poems that have won or been placed in previous competitions. 

Formatting and style

Entries should be in English or English dialect. Strong language is permitted; there is no need to censor your writing for Mslexia! 

Prose enteries should be typed, double-spaced, on A4 pages. For legibility’s sake, please use a 12-point-size font. 

Poetry entries should be typed on A4 pages; however the spacing is at the poets discretion, we just ask that the poem be legible.

If you are entering online there is no need to number the pages, but it is helpful to number the pages of postal entries.  

Please include the title of the work on your entry, but NOT your name. If entering online, please use the title of the work for the file you are uploading, but NOT your name.

Your entry will be judged anonymously, so do not put your name or contact details anywhere on the text pages of your entry. (This information should be restricted to your online Entry Form or to a cover sheet for postal entries.) 

If you are entering by post, add a separate cover sheet with your contact details, plus the title/s of the work you are submitting. There is more about cover sheets below. (If you are submitting online, there is no need for a separate cover sheet. The information will be requested on your online Entry Form.)

Your entry will not be returned, so please keep a copy. 

Once submitted, no alterations may be made to your entry. If you want to make changes, we regret you will need to submit a new entry with an additional entry fee. Both entries will then be considered separately.

If you have accidentally uploaded the wrong file, included your name on the submission text, or noticed some other issue with your entry – please (please) don’t worry! Just email explaining your concern and we will get in touch and sort it out for you.


What happens next?

If you require confirmation of receipt of a postal entry, enclose an SAE labelled ‘Acknowledgement’.

Winners and finalists are announced and/or published in Mslexia magazine and listed on the Mslexia website in our Meet the Winners section. An interview with the winner of each competition is published in the magazine.

You will be informed by email of the outcome of your entry around three weeks prior to publication of the edition of the magazine in which the winners and finalists are announced. If your entry has not been placed, this email will contain an account of the range of work received along with general feedback on the entries and judging process by the judge/s in question. 

Copyright of any entry remains with the author, but Mslexia has the right to publish the winning entries in its magazine, on its website, and in any related material for PR purposes.


How to enter

You may enter online or send your entry by post. If you are entering online or by post, there are full instructions below. 


Entering Online

Where do I start?

Check you have followed the instructions for formatting, then select 'add to basket' and proceed through to the checkout to pay your entry fee/s. You can start the online entry process here.

Upon completing your payment, you will be immediately redirected to a 'Submit' page. Once there, click on the button ‘Enter Now’, which will open the online Entry Form, where you can input your contact details and upload your text/s.

We will send you a payment confirmation email as soon as we receive your payment. (Check your Junk folder if you can’t see it in your in-box.)

Must I submit my entry as soon as I have paid? 

Once you have paid you may submit your entry either immediately or later – at any time, right up until the competition deadline. To enter at a later date, just login to your Mslexia online account and locate the 'competitions' tab when you're ready to submit.

That didn’t seem to work – what should I do?

If the Entry Form doesn’t appear, or the upload doesn’t work, please email your entry text along with a cover sheet with your details (see Cover Sheets below), as separate attachments, to Explain in the email that you have paid online and we will process the entry for you. DO NOT pay again to restart the entry process. (We will refund you if you do, of course, but it is a bit of an admin headache!) 

What kind of file format can I use for my entry text?

All the common formats are acceptable, including.doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, .txt, .pages, .odt.

What if I've forgotten to included my word count on my entry text?

If this is the case, please don't worry! As long as your word count is under the maximum allowance, there's no need to get in touch to tell us. 

Will you confirm that you have received my entry? 

Yes. We will send an automatic confirmation email. (Check your Junk folder if you can’t see it in your in-box.) So you will receive one email confirming your payment, and a second one when we receive your actual entry.

What if I’m worried that my entry has not arrived?

Please don’t send us another identical entry ‘just in case’. If you think something might have gone wrong with the upload, or anything else, email us at and we’ll check for you.

If we receive your payment but no entry, or vice versa, we will contact you. This might not be until after the deadline, when we process all the entries, but we promise we will be in touch if there is an issue, in order to make sure that your entry is entered into the competition.

Can I enter more than one Mslexia competition at a time?

Yes! You may enter as many of our competitions as you like, with as many entries as you like – on separate occasions or all at the same time. 

Once you have paid for your entry and passed through the Checkout you will see your competition entries listed, and will be able to submit your work. If you decide to pay for more than one entry in the same transaction, you will see the equivalent number of links to the relevant Entry Forms when you have passed through checkout. (You will also receive an order confirmation email, with the equivalent number of competition entry links, for you to use if you decide to submit an entry at a later date – right up until the competition deadline.)

If you are entering several different competitions, please double-check that you have uploaded the correct entry to the correct competition! (But don’t panic if you’ve made a mistake – just email us at and we’ll sort it out for you.)

Entering by Post

If entering by post, mark your envelope ‘Mslexia + the title of the  competition’ and send it to: Mslexia Publications Ltd, PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1PZ.

If entering by post, you can pay by cheque (payable to Mslexia Publications Ltd.) or by debit/credit card (phone +44 (0)191 204 8860 with your details). We won’t process your entry until we have received your payment.

Can I enter more than one Mslexia competition at a time?

Yes! You may enter as many different competitions as you like, but please use a separate envelope, marked separately for each competition, and accompanied by separate entry fee/s. 

You may send several entries for the same competition in the same envelope, but it is helpful if you enclose a separate cheque for each entry. 

Can I send my entry by recorded delivery to your PO Box?

Yes. It will be accepted by the mail room in our building, then delivered and signed for by our admin team. The mail room in our building is open seven days a week. 

What if my postal entry arrives after the deadline?

Don’t worry. We will check the postmark to ensure that any entry posted before the deadline is entered into the competition, even if it arrives a day or two later.

I enclosed an SAE for an acknowledgment but haven’t received it back yet.

Please be patient. We receive many entries towards the closing date so it takes time to open them all. But if you’re worried, email us at and we will check for you.

I entered ages ago but my cheque hasn’t been cashed yet.

We process most entries around the time of the deadline and bank the cheques at that time. But if you’re worried, email us at and we will check for you.

Cover Sheets for Postal Entries

Do I need a cover sheet?

If you are submitting online there is no need for a cover sheet. Simply fill in the Entry Form with the details requested.

If you are submitting by post, please add a separate cover sheet for each entry, listing the following details: your name, address, email address, the title of your entry and (for fiction texts) the word count. We need this information to process your entry. You can create your own cover sheet, or download and print out one we have helpfully prepared below.

Flash Fiction Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Short Story Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Novel Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Poetry Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Pamphlet Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

If you are entering more than one poem for a poetry competition entry (up to three poems per entry fee are allowed for the Poetry Competition, up to 20 poems for the Poetry Pamphlet Competition), list all of the titles on the cover sheet. 

What if I’ve forgotten to include my cover sheet?

If you forget to include a cover sheet with your postal entry, please email us at with the information listed above. We need this information to process your entry.

Sponsored Entries

Mslexia provides a number of sponsored entries for low-income women writers. 

Donate a Sponsored Entry

If you would like to donate an entry, you can do so online here, or over the phone by calling us on 0191 204 8860.

Apply for a Sponsored Entry

Sponsored entries are available to writers in receipt of the following benefits: Job Seeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, etc. or writers living below the poverty line, which is currently defined as £195 a week for a lone parent with two children. 

If you qualify for a sponsored entry and would like to apply, please email If we receive more applications than sponsored fees, your name will be entered into a random draw shortly following the relevant Sponsored Entry application deadline, which are as follows:

Women’s Fiction Competition 2021: 23 August

Women’s Poetry Competition 2021: TBA