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Short Story


Our 2021 Women’s Short Story Competition will open on 1 June, with a closing date of 20 September. 

‘I just wanted to tell you that my Mars story which won your short story competition will be broadcast on Radio 4, read by Juliet Stevenson. I'm so excited!’ Cherise Saywell

‘Even now, more than three years on, I hear from someone who has read my story and liked it. It made me realise how widely the magazine is read is and how well-regarded it is’ Tamsin Cottis

The 1st prize is £2,000 plus mentoring by a member of the editorial team at premier women’s publisher Virago Press. Three additional finalists each receive £100 and all four winning entries are published in Mslexia magazine. 

Previous judges include Sarah Hall, Irenosen Okije, Deborah Levy, Tessa Hadley, Jane Rogers and Janice Galloway.

The competition is for complete short stories up to 3,000 words, in any genre, for adult and/or young adult readers. Previous winners have gone on to publish novels (e.g. Mandy Sutter, Margaret Kirk, Anna Sayburn) and full story collections (like Angela Readman) and have their stories broadcast on radio, including Cherise Saywell's extraordinary 'Pieces of Mars have fallen to Earth'.

Finalists and shortlistees have discovered that being placed in the competition has opened doors to further publication.

Current Competitions

Our 2020 Short Story Competition is currently closed. If you entered and would like to know what happens next, check our FAQs.

Short Story Winner
A kindness by Gilli Fryzer
Meet the Short Story winner

A kindness by Gilli Fryzer