The first prize is a whopping £2,000 – one of the biggest in the genre – and comes with two optional extras: a week’s retreat at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre in Wales, and a day with a Virago editor. Judging the competition this year is novelist, short story writer and essayist Alison MacLeod, whose novel Unexploded was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize.
The closing date for the competition is 16 March 2015: plenty of time to start work on a new piece of writing or re-visit an old draft. And to guide you on your way – if, indeed, any guidance is needed – Mslexia has commissioned a series of writing workshops to stimulate new ideas and help get your story into submission-ready shape. The first workshop delves into the art of character development and includes three new writing exercises; keep an eye on the Mslexia website for two more workshops leading up to the deadline.
Last year’s competition winner Jackie Brewster said, ‘I’ve been floating on a little cloud ever since I received the phone call. I thought it was good enough to enter, but I never dreamed it was good enough to win.’ Francesca Armour-Chelu, 2013 winner, credited the competition as the reason that she found an agent ‘after years of rejection letters’. As they say, the proof in the pudding, and Mslexia‘s competition really has given so many writers a foot up the ladder – this year you could be one of them.
Full details of how to enter are on the Mslexia website. Best of luck with your entry!