Susan Grossey

Long face rather than long list

Being an only child, I am not a terribly competitive person.  (My multi-siblinged husband says that on the contrary, I am uber-competitive because I refuse to take part in contests, but that’s because I can rarely see the point of them.)  Anyhoo, the upshot is that competitions tend to pass me by.  But then, on 20 September 2013, I spotted an ad for the Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition 2013.  The date is significant, because the closing date for entries was 23 September, and I am a great believer in coincidence and things that are “meant to be”.

Many things about this competition were “meant to be”, it seemed.  It was for women (check) who had written a first novel (check) for adults (check) that had not been published through the traditional route (check).  There was an entry fee, which I reasoned would restrict it to serious contenders, and Mslexia has a reputation for fostering women writers of material not traditionally associated with women writers (i.e. not chicklit, and Plank is as far removed from chicklit as can be).  I just had to enter, so I printed the required number of pages and hared off to the post office.  The winner would be announced in February 2014, they said, and so I tucked away my warm excitement and enjoyed the thought of maybe, just maybe, getting somewhere.

And then earlier this week I had another look at the competition webpage, here.  And I saw that they had added a key sentence: “Those longlisted will be notified by post in November 2013.”  And I had heard nothing.  So I phoned to check that I had understood the process, and I had.  I hadn’t expected to win, but I had nurtured little hopes of getting onto the longlist – although I have no idea how long that list is.  So now I am waiting to see who was longlisted and who did win – and meanwhile Plank and I will focus on the future.


  1. Roy McCarthy Avatar
    Roy McCarthy

    If you pay to enter a writing competition the least I’d expect is an acknowledgement, but ideally a short critique as to why it fell short. I doubt the judges spend more than a minute or two on each entry before short-listing their family and friends. A case for Plank I believe!

  2. ihatemoneylaundering Avatar

    On reflection I think you’re right, Roy – about getting an acknowledgement or a critique. I think I thought that a reputable organisation like Mslexia would be, well, reputable, but now I am wondering what the purpose of the £25 fee was. I may well ask them – although that might come across as sour grapes!
    Best wishes from Susan

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