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Entry Instructions


Below are general eligibility criteria, entry instructions and details on what happens next, for all of our competitions. 

Use your search function to browse the page for any answers you may need, but if we haven't got it covered email and we'll get back to you.

Specific details of the writing eligibility for each separate competition, and the prizes on offer, can be found on the appropriate competition page.

Download our Mslexia Fiction Competition 2023 Rules here.

Download our Poetry and Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2023 Rules here.


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.

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

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


Eligibility: Published vs unpublished

Our Short Story, Flash Fiction and Poetry competitions are for unpublished writing.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. 

Our Adult Novel, Children's & YA Novel, and Memoir competitions are for unpublished novelists. Authors who have had a novel/memoir published in any country by a traditional means - that is, chosen for publication via an editorial process - are ineligible to enter. 

Authors who have self-published their novels are eligible, provided it has not sold more than 500 copies. 

For our Poetry Pamphlet competition we allow the manuscript to include previously published individual poems and individual poems that have won or been placed in previous competitions. But the poet cannot have a full-length collection (of over 48 pages) published.

Eligibility: Simultaneous Submissions

We do accept simultaneous submissions, however we ask that you notify us as soon as possible if your work has won, or is to be published, elsewhere. 

Likewise, if you have been selected to appear in Mslexia, you will need to withdraw your work from the other publication. 

Any entries withdrawn due to success in other competitions will not be refunded. 

Entry Instructions

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! 

Short Story and Flash Fiction entries should be typed, double-spaced, on A4 pages. For legibility’s sake, please use a 12-point-size font. (Please note: you will not be disqualified if you don't adhere strictly to this.)

Novel entries should be typed, double-spaced, on A4 pages. When submitting, submit the first 5,000 words only in the first instance, with the title of your novel appearing on the first page. Please note - if the 5,000-word limit cuts off your work mid-sentance, you may round up to the nearest natural stopping point 100-200 words over the limit.

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

Pamphlet entries should be typed on A4 pages, with no more than 40 lines of poetry on each page. When submitting your pamphlet online please submit ONE document which should contain a title page, contents page and your individual poems - please do not submit your pamphlet as multiple documents.

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. It should appear at the top of the first page and/or in the document header - note the title of your work is not included in the word count.

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 can include a word count, please do; however, if you don't, or forget to, please don't worry! You won't be disqualified if you don't include it and we will be in touch with you if there's a problem.

The file types we accept are: .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, .txt, .pages, .odt.

Please do not send your entry as an image file, .jpg, .png etc., they are not accepted.

How to enter

You may enter online or send your entry by post. 

Entering Online

Where do I start?

Check you have followed the instructions for formatting above, then select 'add to basket' and proceed through to the checkout to pay your entry fee/s.

You will be asked to sign up/sign in to your Mslexia account.

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 inbox.)

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!)

Do I need to include a coversheet? 
No. If you're entering online you do not need to include a coversheet; the Entry Form you fill out during the entry process acts as your coversheet. 

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 inbox.) 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.

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.

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.

If you require confirmation of receipt of a postal entry, enclose an SAE labelled 'Acknowledgement' 

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

Yes! You may enter as many different competitions as you like and can include all your enteries in one envelope, but please complete a separate coversheet for each entry, accompanied by separate cheque. 

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

 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 prepared below.

Flash Fiction Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Short Story Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Adult Novel Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Poetry Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

Poetry Pamphlet Competition Cover Sheet for Postal Entry

For the Poetry Competition if you are entering more than one poem, (up to three poems per entry fee are allowed for the Poetry Competition), list all of the titles on the cover sheet. 

For our Pamphlet Competition, alongside your coversheet, please include a contents sheet which lists all the poems appearing in the pamphlet. 

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:

Poetry Competition 2023: 24 November

What happens next?

You will be informed by email of the outcome of your entry at the following times:

Short Story: November 2023

Flash Fiction: November 2023

Adult Novel: January/February 2024

Poetry Competition: Februrary 2024

Poetry Pamphlet Competition: May/June 2024 

For our Adult Novel competition, the longlist will be notified in January/February 2024 and asked to send in their full manuscript, along with a one-page synopsis. We usually give two weeks from the point of notifying you, for you to send us your complete manuscript. 

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.

Copyright & Prize Terms

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. 

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. 

Please download our Mslexia Fiction Competition 2023 Rules for the full fiction competition prize terms.

Our full Terms & Conditions can be found here.

And head to our Competitions Policy page if you'd like to know about our judging process.