It is ten weeks since the shortlist for the Mslexia prize was first announced, and the nine of us were all on it.
The tenth member of the club is Rosie Garland, who went on to win the competition with her novel, ‘The Beast in all Her Loveliness’.
Since the competition winner was announced, Rebecca Alexander and I (Nicola Vincent-Abnett), who were runners-up, have both secured literary agents, and are working on edits and rewrites of our novels, ‘Borrowed Time’ (working title) and ‘Naming Names’. In the meantime, Rosie’s book was sent off last week to fifteen publishers, and, yesterday, we heard the best news of all.
‘The Beast in all Her Loveliness’ was bought by Harper Collins in a two book deal worth six figures.
I was confident that the competition would be a success. When I heard that 1800 books had been submitted, (and it’s worth remembering that this is women writers only), and when I heard that 100 books had been longlisted, I knew that this prize was going to make an impact. When I began to talk to the other shortlisted women, and when I began to read about Rosie’s novel, I knew that I was in very good company.
I always believed in my novel. I always knew that there was something compelling about it, and, as arrogant as it might sound, I always knew that I could write.
In the end, the success of the Mslexia competition relies on the shortlisted writers exploiting their good fortune in being chosen and using it to get a foot in the door with agents and publishers. So far, it seems to be working.
The more books from this shortlist are published, the more prestigious the prize will become, and the more interesting the rest of the shortlisted novels will look to prospective agents and publishers.
So, here’s the thing:
I’d just like to thank Rosie Garland for writing what is clearly a fabulous book, and for being our ambassador in the publishing world. You’ve set us a great example, and I hope we can all jump on your bandwagon and make a little success for ourselves. I always knew that good luck was catching, and that you can judge a woman by the literary company she keeps.