Mantel makes rare judging appearance for Mslexia Novel Competition

Mantel makes rare judging appearance for Mslexia Novel Competition

Hilary Mantel will lead the judging panel of the Mslexia Novel Competition, the first time she has judged such a contest for almost two decades. 

Marianne Tatepo, founder of the Black Agents & Editors’ Group and commissioning editor of Ebury Press and Pop Press, and literary agent Jo Unwin, of the JULA agency, are also on the judging panel.

The competition, for unpublished women novelists, is one of three categories in Mslexia’s annual Women’s Fiction Competition, which launches today (1st June). The first prize is £5,000. Previous winners include Imogen Hermes Gowar’s The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock (Harvill Secker) and Polly Clarke’s Larchfield (Pan Macmillan). 

Double Booker-winning Mantel has not judged a novel competiton for 18 years. “This is the first time Hilary has judged a competition for novelists since 2003, when she was on the panel that put Sarah Waters and Zadie Smith on the Granta list of 20 Best of Young British Novelists," said Mslexia editor Debbie Taylor. “We feel very blessed and excited about the possibility of discovering a new literary star.” 

The other two categories in Mslexia’s Women’s Fiction Competition are the £3,000 Short Story, which is judged this year by author A L Kennedy, and Flash Fiction, worth £500, judged by director of Flash Fiction Festival UK Jude Higgins. Winners and finalists of the two short fiction categories will be published in Mslexia’s inaugural anthology Best Women’s Short Fiction 2021

The closing date for all categories is 20th September. Best Women’s Short Fiction 2021 will be published on 1st December 2021.  

Full details of additional prizes and entry requirements are online.