Writing Advice with Sue Burge. Mslexia


Many of the pieces in this month’s issue of WordCity are reflections on Women’s Rights.  My advice this month is to write beyond your comfort zone, and I have a suggestion for you of how female writers can find the encouragement to do this within the pages of one innovative and highly regarded writing magazine, Mslexia, which has done everything in its power to encourage women writers.  This magazine has been my constant writing companion since its first issue in 1999.  Founder and Editor Debbie Taylor created Mslexia to address the imbalance in the way women’s writing is published, reviewed and perceived.  The magazine only accepts submissions from women.  Debbie Taylor’s article, “Three Cures for Mslexia” which appeared in Issue 1, sets out her justification for the ethos of the magazine.  You can read it here:


In 2017 Taylor updated the issues which had led to the initial idea for the magazine and found the publishing world still wanting in many respects.  Her 2017 follow-up article, “Mslexia: are we cured yet?” can be found here:


So, this is a call for solidarity.  I’m not sure this brilliant magazine is that well-known outside the UK.  It covers all genres, including scriptwriting and performance. It explores ways you can market your writing.  It constantly strives to address issues of diversity and representation. The current issue, number 90, has articles on writing and dementia, why rejection hurts so much, how lockdown has welcomed disabled writers, how to make a living from copywriting, and much more.  There are comprehensive lists of places where you can submit your work both in the UK and globally (why not submit beyond your geographic comfort zone too?!), writing tips, interviews with writers, poetry and short fiction reviews, indie press highlights and the widest set of submission opportunities for inclusion in Mslexia itself.  There are three opportunities to submit narrative non-fiction.  Readers are encouraged to pitch articles; there are poetry submissions, including an eco-poetry challenge (Poems for the Planet, curated by Climate Writer Linda France); regular fiction submission opportunities include a bedtime story for a child, a flash challenge and The World’s Wife – a monologue in the voice of a wife, mistress, sister, mother of a famous real or fictional person.  These challenges will surely inspire you to new writing or to attempt a new genre (again, let go of that comfort zone in a safe and encouraging space)!

The magazine is quarterly and two of the issues have themed submissions for both poetry and fiction, judged by top names in the industry and beautifully showcased. There are also annual competitions: memoir, novel, short story, flash fiction, writing for children, poetry and poetry pamphlet (chapbook) with good prize money and great opportunities for the winners.  You can subscribe from anywhere in the world, both digital and paper options are available.  Some of the submission opportunities are only open to subscribers but most are open to all.  The magazine encourages readers to write short pieces for inclusion on regular themes such as blogging, submitting, writing rituals etc.   Every reader is treated as a potential contributor to the magazine.  It’s a very inclusive exclusive experience which I hope you will enjoy:


Sue Burge is a poet and freelance creative writing and film studies lecturer based in North Norfolk in the UK.  She worked for over twenty years at the University of East Anglia in Norwich teaching English, cultural studies, film and creative writing and was an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing with the Open University.  Sue is an experienced workshop leader and has facilitated sessions all over the world, working with a wide range of people – international students, academics, retired professionals from all walks of life, recovering addicts, teenagers and refugees. She has travelled extensively for work and pleasure and spent 2016 blogging as The Peripatetic Poet.  She now blogs as Poet by the Sea. In 2016 Sue received an Arts Council (UK) grant which enabled her to write a body of poetry in response to the cinematic and literary legacy of Paris.  This became her debut chapbook, Lumière, published in 2018 by Hedgehog Poetry Press.  Her first full collection, In the Kingdom of Shadows, was published in the same year by Live Canon. Sue’s poems have appeared in a wide range of publications including The North, Mslexia, Magma, French Literary Review, Under the Radar, Strix, Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, The Ekphrastic Review, Lighthouse and Poetry News.   She has featured in themed anthologies with poems on science fiction, modern Gothic, illness, Britishness, endangered birds, WWI and the current pandemic.  Her latest chapbook, The Saltwater Diaries, was published this Autumn (2020) by Hedgehog Poetry Press and her second collection Confetti Dancers came out in April 2021 with Live Canon.  More information at www.sueburge.uk

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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