Enter Mslexia’s short story competition

Button on Kilve Beach cr Judy DarleyMslexia’s annual short story competition for women writers is open for entries, so now’s the time to search out and polish up your plots!

The first prize is £2,000 – one of the biggest prizes available in the genre – and includes two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Gladstone Library, and a day with a Virago editor. Not too shabby!

Three other finalists will each receive £100. The winning stories will be published in the June 2017 issue of Mslexia.

Stories must be between 300 and 3,000 words in length, not including the title. The shortlisted entries will be judged by novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy. Entires cost £10 each.

The closing date for the competition is 20th March 2017, so there’s just time to get your entry together.

You can find full details of how to enter at www.mslexia.co.uk.

Distant storms

I’ve been subscribing to Mslexia for many years, and have been relishing the little ms newsletter that goes out to subscribers ever since its launch. It’s full of ideas, inspiration and quirky nuggets of information. Each one includes a flash card – an image you’re invited to turn into a 100-word story.


Image © Gabczi and Shutterstock via Mslexia

They’re fantastic writing prompts, and when I saw the one shown to the left, a story crept into my mind. I wrote a version that was twice as long as it needed to be, cut it down, polished the sentences, rearranged a few, replaced some with others and finally had a piece I liked, so sent it in.

When I opened the October little miss, I discovered to my pleasure and surprise that my tale had been chosen to appear! Such a joy.

Here is the first sentence for all those none subscribers (and I urge you to subscribe at once!).

Distant storms

It’s almost a decade since anyone came by our flooded city, so when the smoke went up, a bruised tower against the sky, my heart jumped in my chest…

Write a monologue in the voice of a life model

Nude cr Judy Darley

Nude © Judy Darley

In my student days I spent many hours posing as a life model to earn a little extra beer money.

Mslexia‘s latest call for monologues caught my nostalgic eye for this reason. This section of the magazine is aimed particularly towards writers of script, but anyone is welcome to submit.

The biggest challenge is the brief word count, just 200 words. The next issue’s is specifically for a piece in the voice of a life model. It’s a great opportunity to put yourself in the, well, I want to say shoes, but more accurately, under the skin of a life model, whether you’ve experienced this for yourself or not. How do they feel about being naked in a room full of clothed strangers? Are they chilly? Uncomfortable? Or are they to busy thinking about their lives to feel anything beyond the importance of staying still until the art tutor releases them?

The deadline for submissions is 12th January 2015. Send your monologue either to submissions@mslexia.co.uk (with ‘monologue’ in the subject line) or by post to Mslexia, PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1PZ.

The writer of the published monologue will receive £20.

Mslexia magazine review

Mslexia Cover issue 56I first reviewed this long-running quarterly magazine for EssentialWriters in December 2008 when the magazine launched by Debbie Taylor had just benefited from a fresh redesign.

At the beginning of April 2011 a more radical revamp was unveiled, revealing a classy matte white cover to a magazine that now boasts a spine (a physical one – it already had a metaphysical one), and a reintroduction of illustrative rather than photography cover art.

Today, the magazine maintains its strong outlook and valuable content, with in-depth interviews with notable writers working in a variety of mediums and genres, an analysis of a bestselling novel, and a gentle picking-apart-and-putting-back-together contemplation of a poem, as well as features aimed at helping you assess, improve and target your own writing. Continue reading