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.