Tag Archives: competitions

Mslexia poetry and pamphlet competitions for women writers 2014

Mslexia have several competitions currently open to women writers – and, below the details, I’ve put the links to some of their on-line workshops to hone those submissions before sending.











We welcome poems of any length, on all subjects – as long as they’re written by women.
1st prize: £2,000
(plus two optional extras*: a week’s writing retreat at Cove Park and a mentoring session with the Editor of premier magazine Poetry Review.
2nd prize: £400
3rd prize £200
17 other finalists will each win £25

for the best poem by a previously unpublished woman poet.
All winning poems will be published in Mslexia.
Judge: Wendy Cope
Award-winning poet Wendy Cope, OBE is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has four collections of poetry published, including 2011’s Family Values. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2007, and has kindly agreed to return to us to judge our 2014 competition.

Closing date: 16 June 2014

Competition rules at: https://mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/pcomp_rules.php

Enter the competition at:



This competition is for short collections of 20-24 pages of 18-20 poems. To enter, you need to be a women poet who does not have full-length collection published.
1st prize: Publication by Seren Books in 2015
Plus £250, 25 complimentary copies of the pamphlet and a 10 per cent royalty on sales. One or more poems from the pamphlet will be published in Mslexia magazine.
Judge: Amy Wack, poetry editor at Seren Books
Florida-born Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor at Seren since 1992. Amy is a poet herself, and her bincluding the title Women’s Works.
Closing date: 16 June 2014

Enter the competition here: https://mslexia.co.uk/shop/pamcomp_enter.php

Not quite ready to enter? See exercises provided by Mslexia to give you inspiration and support:

MSLEXIA’S THIRTY EXERCISES FOR POETRY: https://www.mslexia.co.uk/magazine/workshops/workshops.php

Mslexia short story competition 2014

Here’s information from Mslexia about their forthcoming short story competition


A competition for unpublished short stories of up to 2,200 words. We accept work on all subjects, so write about anything and everything you fancy – we love to read it.

1st prize: £2,000

Plus two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Chawton House Library, and a day with a Virago editor

2nd prize: £500

3rd prize: £250

Three other finalists each receive £100

Judge: Jane Rogers

Jane Rogers has has published eight novels, including The Voyage Home and Island, and written original television and radio drama. She was shortlisted in the BBC National Short Story Competition in 2009 and has, amongst others, received an award for Writers’ Guild Best Fiction Book and a BAFTA nomination for best drama serial. Jane also works as an editor in new writing anthologies, and is a Professor of Writing on the Sheffield Hallam MA course.

Closing date: 17 March 2014

All winning stories will be published in the Jun/Jul/Aug 2014 edition of Mslexia

To enter the competition, go to: https://mslexia.co.uk/shop/scomp_enter.php


1st Prize: Francesca Armour-Chelu with ‘The Starving Ghost’
2nd Prize: Karen Onojaife with ‘Starling’ ‘
3rd Prize: Josie Turner with ‘Jewels’

Three other finalists: Anne Corlett with ‘The Man on the Platform’, Eve Thomson with ‘Shona and the Bosoms’, Jennie Walmsley with ‘Saturdays Only’

All six winning stories, and the judge’s essay, are published in issue 58 of Mslexia.

On Winning…

Francesca Armour-Chelu“Winning the Mslexia Short Story Competition is wonderful and I still can’t quite believe it. When I got the email asking me to call – so I could be told in person – my immediate reaction was to think I’d done something wrong! I assumed I’d accidentally slandered a real person, plagiarised someone’s work, or done something else that would disqualify my entry. Ever the optimist!” – Francesca Armour-Chelu.

For the 2013 winners and what they say about the experience of winning, please go to: https://www.mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/scomp_winning.php

The 2013 Judge

“…a good short story frames not just a credible now, but an implied past – and a stretch after the putative ending into infinite space. I guess that’s what is meant by writing that ‘comes off the page’: 3D is certainly possible on the flat page.

In my opinion, it is also true that what the story is about matters far less than the story’s way of seeing: the thing that makes it uniquely itself, whatever the notional everydayness of its subject matter. ”

Read the full essay by the judge here: https://www.mslexia.co.uk/magazine/writing.php#essay

Janice GallowayJANICE GALLOWAY read Music and English at Glasgow University, then worked as a school teacher for 10 years before turning to writing. She has published three collections of short stories – Blood (Vintage, 1992), Where You Find It (Simon and Schuster, 2007), Collected Stories (Vintage, 2009)) – as well as three novels, a volume of poetry and two memoirs, the most recent of which, All Made Up (Granta), came out in July 2012.
She has written and presented three radio series for BBC Scotland (Life as a Man, Imagined Lives and Chopin’s Scottish Swansong), has written for theatre, opera, museum and other exhibitions, and works extensively with musicians, visual artists.
Her awards include the MIND/Allan Lane Award (for her novel The Trick is to Keep Breathing, 1989), the McVitie’s Prize (for her novelForeign Parts, 1994), the EM Forster Award, a Creative Scotland Award, Saltire Book of the Year (for her novel Clara, 2002, based on the life of Clara Schumann) and the SMIT non-fiction Book of the Year for her memoir This Is Not About Me (2009).


“My baby’s mine, come out of me. I can’t see her face but her hair! There’s so much of it, sticks up like a hedgehog. I see nurse give it a stroke. Feels lovely I bet. They never let me touch her.”

The beautiful and haunting story ‘What goes around’ by Tamsin Cottis is now available to listen to for free at Short Story Radio! The story is narrated by Lisa Armytage. Please see below for the link to short story radio.



We have taken the advice from a range of past judges of short stories and compiled it into a selection of top tips that give you some insider information into what short story judges are looking for when they’re reading through all those submissions – and what to do to stand out: https://www.mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/scomp_feature.php


You can listen to the work of previous winners at: http://mslexia.shortstoryradio.com/

Insight, process, opportunities, competitions, TanzKongress

I originally started this blog to write about process from the inside, making three projects and bringing them to production in 2012. Since those furiously creative days, I’m relieved to say my work has been different (I would easily have burned out otherwise!) and I’ve been engaged in several other writing projects, all at different stages in development, more of which, below.

This blog initially was about documenting various processes for a playwright/dramaturg/co-creator, working towards production  (these posts are still available in this blog’s archive). This is still a focus, for I’m interested in exploring the breadth and diversity of the skills a writer may need within any creative process – and it is something I will document again, when in production.

I think there is a myth that we do just one thing – write – (as though that weren’t demanding and challenging enough!). I’m curious about the other elements required for a writing life – the other tools we may need to survive, which include everything from accountancy skills and being able to write outstanding grant applications, to the social skills required for collaboration in the rehearsal room. This is an area I intend to blog about in the future. But I am even more curious with how other artists do it – how do we survive a bad review, little success, disappointing sales, and that doubting dark night of the soul..? This is one reason why I started ’20 Questions…’ to learn from other artists, writers, actors, sculptors and those engaged professionally with creativity how and why we continue to do this. And to be reminded of the inherent value – even necessity – of this compulsion.

And so this blog has continued to evolve, bringing in other voices and opinions rather than being focused solely on my own process when in the doing (although I will for sure do this again, when the opportunity arises). I also have been using it to highlight certain political debates (‘cripping up’, the use of black face in German theatres, ageism and sexism within the profession, etc), and also highlighting certain opportunities and competitions for writers within the UK as well as internationally. When I began this blog, I always wanted to create something that would be useful – and hope this will be the experience for those who trouble to read it.

In the spirit of this, I want to draw attention to the approaching deadline on 31st May 2013 of The Bridport Prize, whose mission is ‘to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence through its competition structure.’ Well established, it offers £15,000 in prizes for poetry, short stories, and flash fiction, with judges including Wendy Cope and Michele Roberts. For details of the competitions, please go to: http://www.bridportprize.org.uk

As to me…. so far 2013 has been primarily about completing one large long-standing prose project, delivering the first draft of a theatre commission and initiating new projects in media drama and live performance. Some are my own projects as a solo writer, but others are international collaborations with the Llanarth Group: an Irish/Welsh/Singapore-Chinese/American/South Korean co-creation in the Summer and the other a cultural exchange in Japan late in the year. Meanwhile I will be continuing my fellowship at Freie Universitat’s international research centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ in Berlin, reflecting on the relationship between ‘mainstream’ and disability cultures.

As part of this, I will be presenting at dance conference  TanzKongress in Dusseldorf on Saturday 8th June: ‘Border Control: Framing the Atypical Body. “You say radical, I say conservative, you say inclusive, I say subversive.”’

The schedule is overwhelming and looks incredibly exciting. For further details go to: