Finally, the winner of the inaugural Mslexia Novel Prize has been announced, and I, for one, am delighted.
Brava to Rosie Garland, who won the prize for her novel “The Beast in all her Loveliness”. It’s literary and period, set in the Victorian era. It revolves around a girl with the face of a lion, so it’s about living on the fringes and about self-discovery: worthy themes then, and an interesting idea. I’ve read a tiny excerpt and I liked it, so I’ll be reading more when it is, I sincerely hope, published.
Rosie also happens to be a recent addition to my FaceBook list of Friends; she’s clearly a woman of enormous talent, and already has a reputation as a writer, poet and performer. This couldn’t have happened to a more deserving woman, and I wish her every success. In our few small dealings through social media, I have found Rosie warm and generous, and I hope that we shall become friends.
I still look forward to reading as many of the dozen books on the shortlist as I can get my hands on. I have been in touch with many of the ten other women responsible for those novels, and what an extraordinary group of clever, thoughtful, talented women they are. The shortlisted writers include a couple of psychologists, a couple of poets and a journalist. Between us we also have a smattering of Masters degrees in Creative Writing, and several of us have had agents at one time or another. Most of us have had short fiction or poetry published.
We are all more than a little delighted and surprised by our success in the competition, but we’ve all been writing for some time, and all hope to capitalise on our recent success. I hope to set up home for all of us on a dedicated website in the not too distant future, so watch this space.