letters, posts, emails, tweets

WIN A FEW, LOSE A FEW I’ve been shortlisted for the last three years in your Short Story Competition. This encouragement is really important to me, as I have a rather odd writing voice. I thought you’d like to know that I went on to win the Ink Tears Flash Fiction competition and have just won second prize in the Bridport Prize. The story I sent you this year was broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 from the Bath Festival of Literature. Thank you. Kerry Hood, Bristol

Thrilled that my novel manuscript is on the Mslexia prize longlist. Also, yesterday I accidentally set pumpkin alight. The fates are fickle. Jane Healey via Twitter £1,000 TO SPEND... A £1,000 donation to support poetry! I’d suggest a ‘Poem on a Postcard’ to supplement other poetry spaces in Mslexia, with a payment of £50. Katherine Gallagher, N London

What about a competition for a course, mentoring from a well-known poet, or a festival pass and accommodation? Joanne Barrett, N London

DEAR DIARY I just sent a Mslexia diary as a birthday present to a young woman friend who is starting out as a writer. Here is her response: ‘Thank you so much. My beautiful Mslexia Writer’s Diary arrived today. It sent quite a tingle down my spine when I opened it. Now I just have to get on with being a woman writer!’ Zoe Fairbairns, S London

AGE-DEFYING Francesca Armour-Chelu reports that she attended an open day for the UEA Creative Writing MA and was told ‘they mainly took people no older than 30’. This simply isn’t the case. The average age of our students is precisely 30 and we encourage applicants of this age and older. Half our students come from overseas, two thirds are female. Several students this year are in their 40s or 50s. Andrew Cowan, Director of Creative Writing, UEA

GRATING EXPECTATIONS Caroline Sanderson’s complaint about people she’s just met expecting her to be a novelist struck a real chord. No one I meet understands what ‘popular reference’ is. What they’ll say when I tell them I’ve branched out into ‘narrative travel with recipes’ is anyone’s guess. Caroline Taggart, London

Yay for Caroline Sanderson. I’m a nonfiction author too and I’ve always been uncomfortable with the term. I wouldn’t call myself a non-man. My first book has been struggling to get traditional media coverage. ‘A memoir by a non-famous person, by a woman, on women’s issues and mental health? You must Be mad... Oh hold on...’ But I’m getting a nice buzz on Facebook. Thanks Caroline. Jen Wight, Sydney, Australia

▶Womencartooniststhroughtheages 1989ANN MCCARTHY ‘visual puns meticulously drawn in detailed pen work’

Letter: PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1PZ Email: postbag@ Message: mslexia Tweet: mslexia Comment: mslexia. or follow the links from www.mslexia.

Rant When the bailiffs come (alone or in packs, to ask for our DVD-players) the bank charge waits. When the funeral, the wedding, you nodding your head and smiling at people you don’t remember, with just enough money for a sandwich at Victoria. Then. Then the bank charge will strike. And when grandmothers hit children and fathers extinguish cigarettes in duck-ponds, yes, remember, they’ve had a bank charge too. ALICE ASH, Brighton

Rave Top of my bucket list: stand-up comedy. Not watching; performing. I’ve banged on about it for years and finally a friend signed me up to a course for my 80th birthday. Over six weeks I fluctuated between debilitating insecurity and intense euphoria. I’ve found making people laugh is one of the most rewarding and cathartic experiences. It’s exposing yourself and it’s terrifying. Everyone should give it a try. EDITH TUNNOCK, Gloucestershire

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4 Dec/Jan/Feb 2013/14


PROCRASTINATION Was browsing through Mslexia when I paused and wondered whether I was procrastinating? Then I read Lesley Thomson’s ‘When it went horribly wrong’, and with a shiver of horror sent my almost-finished novel scuttling through cyberspace to my husband – and I knew how useful my browsing had been. Judy Deveson, Milton Keynes

Been standing in the hall for 10 minutes still in my coat, leaning on the hall table reading. Why? Cos Mslexia was on the doormat. Anna Sayburn via Twitter

My rule is to write from 11.00, so when I came in an hour ago from walking the dogs I was already late. But I just had to try on a new t-shirt (perfect). Then I made coffee (obviously), took a few pictures of the dogs asleep on the garden bench, made more coffee, made toast, took Mslexia out of its plastic wrapping and sniffed the paper. I’ll add Marmite to the toast, knock back the coffee and then, honestly, I’ll knuckle down. Colette Hill, Bridport Mslexia’s little ms newsletter is a treasure trove! Has stopped me writing for 30 mins now, but worth it… Kat Dawes via Twitter

TRUE GIFT When experiencing trauma, the ability to express our inmost thoughts and distress is a gift. Unburdening ourselves, understanding our feelings, and writing them out can be