We’re delighted to announce that the judge for the International Willesden Herald 2017 New Short Stories competition will be none other than the much admired and super cool Lane Ashfeldt, a writer who is no stranger to the short story form herself.
Lane is the author of the fiction collection ‘SaltWater’, a book of twelve short stories and a novella. A contributor to ‘Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story’, her stories have won several international prizes and appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, among them Punk Fiction, Dancing With Mr Darcy, The Guardian, The London Magazine, and the Dublin Review. (Ashfeldt.com)
Lane has kindly agreed to pick the winning entries from a short list, and hopes to see an eclectic, entertaining and truly international range of writing represented on the list. We’re looking forward to reading the best stories you have, and you’ve never let us down yet. The submission window is from May to August.
The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Competition 2017
Opening date: 1 May 2017
Closing date: 31 August 2017
Word limit: 7500
The prize fund of £1225 will be divided among the ten finalists as follows:
1st Prize: The one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2017” + £300
£75 to each of the remaining seven short-listed
All ten shortlisted stories will be published in “Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10”.
Two copies go to each of the ten shortlisted contributors.
Katy Darby announces the overall winner and runners-up in the Willesden Herald international short story competition 2016, and shares her responses to each of the stories. In the audience were all but one of the writers whose stories were short-listed, including some who travelled from as far away as Italy, France and America.
Towards the end of the video, it becomes clear which story has taken first prize, and we proceed to the presentation and a charming acceptance speech.
And the winner is…
First prize and the one-off mug, inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2016”, and Champagne goes to Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg.
Katy also announced equal runners-up, receiving consolation prizes: The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis Undercurrents by Gina Challen
In accordance with the rules, the prize fund of £750 was divided equally among the finalists, who also received two copies each of the anthology.
Here is Miranda Harrison, reading from the opening of Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg.
To find out who really sent the text, and what happens in the end, you will have to read Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9. Available from Amazon.co.uk (for UK, Ireland and Europe) and Amazon.com (US and rest of the world) and other online booksellers.
The ten best short stories of 2016, are presented in the random sequence in which they were originally read, as good a system as any!, and together present a pleasing selection of contemporary fiction, or to put it more snappily:
Unspeakable secrets, disappeared husbands, bisexual love triangles, revolutionary conspiracies and African odysseys: from Sixties Paris to San Francisco, Arundel to Latin America, poets, murderers, musicians, schoolkids and festive firearms fanciers stalk these pages, waiting to greet you.
Winning Stories: Undercurrents by Gina Challen; Twisted by Tracy Fells; Looking for Nathalie by Susan Haigh; All That Remains by Rob Hawke; The Volcano by Anna Lewis; The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis; The Cliffs of Bandiagara by Catherine McNamara; Supersum by Barbara Robinson; Last Call at the Rialto by Daniel Waugh;Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg
With an introduction by 2016 judge, Katy Darby
Katy Darby, our judge for 2016, confirms that the shortlist for this year’s award, and therefore the stories to be published in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9, are as follows, in alphabetical order by title:
All That Remains
The Cliffs of Bandiagara
Last Call at the Rialto
Looking for Nathalie
Love and Hair
The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival
(Update 3/11/2016: One story was withdrawn at the last minute, and so the shortlist of ten has been updated accordingly.)
And now you will have to wait till the results event to find out who takes the prize for overall winner this year! We’re excited and can’t wait for the actor readings and the book. We’re hoping to meet some of the writers in London, if you can make it. Over the next few days, we’ll be working on the book cover art and details of the event.
Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the shortlisted. It has been a privilege and an adventure reading the stories sent in, appreciating the painstaking art that has gone into them, and experiencing the never-failing wonder of the short story form.
We are delighted to announce that agent Carrie Kania of literary agency Conville & Walsh has kindly agreed to read the ten winning stories this year. Here is a link to Carrie’s profile. Among her many credits, she launched an imprint that racked up 13 New York Times bestsellers. She also works for leading writers in the short story world, including Simon Van Booy, who won the Frank O’Connor award in 2009 for his collection of stories Love Begins in Winter, and Paul McVeigh. So once again, please send us your best short stories. Each one will be carefully read and considered. Thanks. (Steve)
There were 381 entries and reducing them to ten wasn’t easy at all. Many brilliant stories had to be omitted. It was fascinating, as always, reading each and every submission. When you think of all the craftsmanship, thought and sheer imagination there is out there, it’s quite heartening.
Short List 2014
Piercings by Jo Barker Scott
Such is her Power by Joan Brennan
The Beekeeper’s Daughters by Gina Challen
Ward by Nick Holdstock
Rock Pools by CG Menon
Rip Rap by Dan Powell
Postman’s Knock by Angela Sherlock
Rash by Megan Taylor
The Stealing by Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson
Cotton-Fisted Scorpions by Medina Tenour Whiteman
Congratulations to the writers of the short-listed stories and thanks to all who entered. The first and runners-up prizes will be announced by the judge, Charles Lambert, on April 16 at a special event in BAR Gallery in Willesden. New Short Stories 8, the anthology containing all the stories above, will be launched at the same time.
About the Authors
Jo Barker Scott was born in London, but grew up mostly overseas, in Kenya, Pakistan and Iran. These days she lives in Winchester, writing fiction and loitering on social media. Her work has been variously ignored, long-listed, short-listed, prize-winning and published, and she is currently polishing a novel. Her dream is to become a good enough writer to do justice to her family’s story.
Joan Brennan lives in London and writes full-time. Her stories have been short-listed for the Bridport, Fish, V.S. Pritchett and Lightship. She was placed second in the final London Short Story Comp. She lived in America for 7 years which is the setting for her recently completed novel, ‘The Bean Farm’ – currently short-listed for the Exeter Novel prize. After gaining a degree in Art she went on to complete an MA in English Lit. and over the years has worked as an illustrator, education editor, F.E. tutor, and university librarian. Originally from Lancashire, Joan still hankers for the North
Gina Challen is originally from London but has lived in West Sussex for over 30 years. She left her job as an Insurance Broker in 2012 to complete a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. This she calls her mid-life crisis. Her short stories have been published in anthologies by Cinnamon Press and Rattle Tales, and her essays can be found on line at The Thresholds Short Story Forum. She is currently working on a collection of short stories linked by the life and landscape of the Sussex Downs.
Nick Holdstock is the author of The Tree That Bleeds, a non fiction book about life in China’s Xinjiang province. His stories and articles have appeared in the London Review of Books, n+1, The Independent, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His first novel will be out from Thomas Dunne in Spring 2015. www.nickholdstock.com
CG Menon is Australian, but currently splits her time between London and Cambridge. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of venues including Litro Online and Stupefying Stories. She was short-listed for the first Words and Women competition and has a story forthcoming in the associated anthology.
Dan Powell grew up in the West Midlands and currently lives in Lincolnshire. His short stories have been published in Carve, Paraxis, Fleeting and The Best British Short Stories 2012. He is a prize winning author, receiving both the Yeovil Prize and an Esoteric Award for his short stories. His Scott Prize short-listed debut collection of short fiction, Looking Out Of Broken Windows, is published by Salt. When not writing, Dan teaches part time and takes care of his young family as a home-dad. He is currently working on his first novel and procrastinates at danpowellfiction.com and on Twitter as @danpowfiction.
Angela Sherlock has worked in engineering and in education but now lives in Devon where she writes full time. She has published reviews and articles but currently concentrates on fiction. Her first novel, The Apple Castle, (as yet unpublished) was long-listed for the Virginia Prize and short-listed for the Hookline Novel Writing Competition. She has published some short stories and is currently working on a novel that draws on the history of Plymouth. Postman’s Knock, her third story to be short-listed by Willesden Herald is from her collection, Exports, which explores the Irish Diaspora.
Megan Taylor is the author of three novels, ‘How We Were Lost’ (Flame Books, 2007), ‘The Dawning’ (Weathervane Press, 2010) and ‘The Lives of Ghosts’ (Weathervane Press, 2012), but for the last year and a half, she has been concentrating on her short stories. In 2013, she was highly commended in the Manchester Fiction Prize and had a story published in an anthology, ‘Weird Love’ (Pandril Press). She was also recently awarded runner-up in Tin House’s Shirley Jackson competition and in Synaesthesia Magazine’s short story competition. She lives in Nottingham with her two children.
Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson worked in fashion for 25 years, but more recently spends her days writing – mainly short stories and poetry – and has been published in various literary magazines, both online and print. She is working on her first full length poetry collection titled DressCode and a novel length collection of linked short stories. She is an associate editor for The Word Factory and blogs at www.poemstorydreamreality.com.
Medina Tenour Whiteman is a writer, singer, musician, translator, small-time farmer and mother of two children who writes at a frenetic rate in the rare opportunities she has to do it. Born in Andalusia in 1982 to American-English Sufi Muslim converts, she is currently based in the Granada province, where she is co-writing a travel guide to Muslim Spain and trying to find time to finish a novel.
We are delighted and honoured that the acclaimed writer, Charles Lambert, has agreed to be our judge for the 2013-14 international Willesden Herald short story prize.
“Born in England, Charles Lambert has been living in Italy since 1980. His début novel, Little Monsters, was published by Picador in March 2008 and his story The Scent of Cinnamon was selected as one of the O Henry Prize Stories 2007. … He now lives in Fondi, exactly halfway between Rome and Naples, a stone’s throw from what was once the Appian Way.” (guardian.co.uk)
Charles’ second novel “Any Human Face” was published by Picador in May 2010. Just this year, his agent made the following announcement: “The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency is pleased to announce two new deals with UK publishers for Charles Lambert. Angry Robot’s crime imprint, has acquired World English Language rights to two novels by Charles Lambert. The first to be published will be THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER, a gripping psychological thriller about friendship, love and betrayal, which begins with the killing of a high-level Italian civil servant when his wife is in a Rome hotel room with her lover, not far from the scene of the assassination. She must cut through the complex web of deceit that surrounds her in order to discover who is responsible.” (Charles Lambert – Wordpress).
You can see that only the highest standard of writing will suffice to set before this writers’ writer, also very much a readers’ writer. So you’d better round up those stray stories, throw a bucket of water over them and start schooling them if they are going to get anywhere in the annual Willesden story gala. Opening 1 August 2013.
All Its Little Sounds and Silences – by Barnaby Walsh
Bolt – by Thomas Morris
Dance Class – by SJ Bradley
Donor – by Nici West
The Gift – by Alistair Daniel
Hangman – by Angela Sherlock
Holidaying with the Megarrys – by Danielle McLaughlin
Last Payment – by Anna Lewis
Rip – by Merryn Glover
Round Fat Moon and Jingling Stars – by Marie Murphy
And the winning entry in the 8th international Willesden Herald short story competition 2013, as chosen by David Means is:
“Holidaying with the Megarrys” by Danielle McLaughlin.
“All Its Little Sounds and Silences” by Barnaby Walsh
“Round Fat Moon and Jingling Stars” by Marie Murphy
Thanks to all who entered and to everyone who has supported the competition over the years, especially this year’s judge, David Means.
We are thrilled and honoured to announce that David Means has kindly agreed to be the judge for the eighth annual Willesden Herald international short story competition.
David Means’ stories have a diamond-like sharpness and clarity, in which we visit locations, society and climates as vividly as in a waking dream. I couldn’t point to Sault Ste Marie on the map but I feel I’ve been there. I’ve never hung onto a train but I sort of know what it’s like now. I’ve never lived in an apartment in New York or slept rough but…you get the picture? Writers, you have your work cut out for you.
So intercept a story when it stops at traffic lights, shine its windscreen with a piece of tissue paper the size of a coin, run home, type it out and send it to us as soon as electronically possible. Or whatever your process is. Closing date: Friday, 21 December 2012.
Update, January 2013
Mary O’Shea’s story was runner-up in the London Magazine short Story competition. The prizes were awarded at a champagne reception on the House of Commons terrace on Tuesday 22nd January 2013. The judges for the competition were Edna O’Brien, Cathy Galvin and Alison Macleod.
Jenny Barden’s novel Mistress of the Sea has been published by Ebury Press in hardback, with the paperback to follow. The word is it has been a runaway success in bookstores, including at Heathrow airport. Jenny’s story “Propitiation” in New Short Stories 3 was an excerpt from her then work in progress.
Duotrope have interviewed Steve Moran here for their listing of the Willesden Herald competition. You might not be able to read it after December, as they have announced that starting from January 2013, there will be a membership fee to access their literary markets database in full.
Update, October 2012
October 2. Henrietta Rose-Innes has taken the runner-up prize of £2,500 in the BBC 2012 international short story competition for her story “Sanctuary”. The results were announced at a ceremony in London, broadcast live on Radio 4 arts show Front Row. Miroslav Penkov took the first prize with “East of the West”. Details
October 24. A. J. Ashworth has won the Negative Press short story competition. Judge Evie Wyld says: ‘It was the voice that attracted me and Nicholas Hogg to this one. Her story is strong and understated at the same time.’ Details
You can read stories by A. J. Ashworth and Henrietta Rose-Innes in the New Short Stories series. (See sidebar for links.)
Emma Martin of New Zealand has won the
Commonwealth short story prize for the Pacific region with her story “Two Girls in a Boat”. Emma’s story “Victor” was included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 5.
Charles Lambert’s story “Bad Romance” is runner up in the Short Fiction competition 2012. His story “Curtains” features in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6.
Somewhere Else, or Even Here, a short story collection by A.J. Ashworth,
has been short-listed for the Edge Hill prize. A.J’s story “Overnight Miracles” was also included in New Short Stories 5.
Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6 is now available on Kindle
And the result is…
12 April 2012: The results of the international Willesden Herald short story
competition 2012 as judged by Roddy Doyle were announced
at Willesden Green library centre tonight.
First prize went to “Winter Lambing” by Virginia Gilbert.
Equal runners up were “Curtains” by Charles Lambert
and “Frost Heave” by Geraldine Mills.
“Liars’ League actors read extracts from six stories shortlisted for the international fiction prize, plus the winner and runners-up are revealed.” The actors in order of appearance on the night: Susan Moisan, Camila Fiori, Silas Hawkins, Rob Witcomb, Adam Diggle, Will Goodhand. (More)
Available worldwide. To order from your preferred supplier, please quote:
“Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6” (Publisher Pretend Genius Press, 2012).
Update, April 2012
Jo Lloyd, who won our 2009 competition, has a story
in Salt Publishing’s
Best British Stories 2012. This is the second in their annual
series selecting the best
stories by British writers published in the previous year, and
includes luminaries like Jeanette Winterson, Jon McGregor and
Alison MacLeod etc etc, as well as some newer names.
New Zealand writer and Willesden Herald New Short Stories 1 contributor, Wes Lee has been chosen as one of the final five on the
shortlist for The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award,
judged by Christine Dwyer Hickey in Ireland.
The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award (2,000 euros) is one of the most
prestigious Irish prizes for an individual short story,
and is administered by
Listowel Writers’ Week.
We need more entries, please. Send your best and you will have a good chance this year.Congratulations to Vanessa Gebbie on AN Wilson choosing The Coward’s Tale as his novel of the year 2011 in the Financial Times books of the year.
Thanks to everyone who backed our Kickstarter appeal, we have achieved our funding target. This is very good news for the competition anthology, which will be better published and promoted than ever before.
Update, November 2011
Continuing to report back good news about Willesden Herald finalists and prizewinners, but where to start? We have received word this month of no less than three Hawthornden Castle Fellowships winners for 2012
(Jill Widner, Vanessa Gebbie and Henrietta Rose-Innes), a debut short story collection, two novels, a poetry collection and more.
There is an embarrassment of riches really, looking back over the year. We have not even mentioned prodigiously successful author, Toby Litt,
whose alphabetical novel series continued this year with the stylish, black-edged edition of King Death, and other publications and productions too numerous to mention.
This month also saw the launch of Vanessa Gebbie’s The Coward’s Tale (Bloomsbury), which we have mentioned before, and it is set to be published in America next year too.
Prolific New Zealand author Laura Solomon has another novel Hilary and David (Proverse) which will no doubt continue her pageturner storytelling
combined with a light humorous touch.
Late breaking news: Peggy Riley, another of the talented Americans we’re holding hostage here in Britain has just been highly commended in the Bridport prize 2011. Peggy Riley’s story “Pearl”, which mixed poetry and prose was one of the highlights of New Short Stories 4.
We’re not monomaniacs, you’ll be relieved to learn, and we like poetry as much as the next man, so it is a delight to report another launch this month for a New Short Stories contributor. The Juno Charm (Salmon) is the latest collection of poetry from acclaimed Irish poet and novelist Nuala Ní Chonchúir. So there.
Update August 2011
Here comes the judge
New short stories by Roddy Doyle
It’s time to bring those wild stories down from the high mountain passes,
throw a bucket of water over them, and lead them into town for the annual gala. They don’t have to be wild horses, they might be butterflies or bottles of moonshine – surprise us.
The judge for this year is the incomparable Roddy Doyle. So please let us have your finest new short stories. Thanks.
Results event April 2011
Update January 2011
The 6th annual short story competition is now closed 385 entries were received and each one is a contender for a place in the short list come new year. Thanks to all who entered for entrusting to us your stories, it is an adventure and a joy to start reading them. There is no set date for the results. There will be an announcement online most likely in February and the short-listed authors will be contacted by email at that time.
Announcement of the judge for 2010/11
This year’s judge is Maggie Gee
We are pleased and honoured to announce that dist-inguished author Maggie Gee has agreed to choose the winning entry. Somebody at the Herald must have done something good in a previous life must be the only possible explanation.
Bloomsbury to publish first novel by Vanessa Gebbie ‘The Coward’s Tale’ by Vanessa Gebbie, previous winner of the Willesden short story prize, will be published in hardback in UK by Bloomsbury UK, November 2011.
Then in paperback late spring 2012, UK and simultaneous trade paperback in USA by Bloomsbury USA. Bloomsbury publishes major writers including J K Rowling.
Laura Solomon wins Hong Kong’s Proverse prize
Another prodigy from our previous competitions, Laura Solomon has won Hong Kong’s international Proverse prize, for her novel Instant Messages. “Hilarious! Excellent! Its light and ironic touch makes Instant Messages a page-turner and gives it substance.” (International Proverse Prize Judges)
Update, November 2010
BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award 2010 goes to Wes Lee Willesden Herald finalist Wes Lee has just won New Zealand’s preeminent prize for the short story, The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, judged by Booker shortlisted author Lloyd Jones (Mister Pip).
The $10,000 prize is New Zealand’s longest standing, most prestigious prize for the short story. Past winners of the award include NZ literary greats such as Keri Hulme, C.K. Stead, Frank Sargeson, Vincent O’Sullivan.
Since her shortlisted story ‘The Dead Don’t Do That Kind of Thing’ was published in Willesden Herald New Short Stories 1 (2007) Wes Lee has won a number of prizes for her short stories. For more information and to read the Katherine Mansfield Award winning story please visit
Update, September 2010
Wena Poon’s new novel is BBC4 Book at Bedtime BBC4 Book at Bedtime for the two weeks starting September 6, 2010 will be “Alex y Robert” by Wena Poon. Earlier this year, “The Architects” by Wena Poon took the Willesden Herald 2009-10 prize for best short story of the year.
For a lot more about Alex y Robert, please visit Salt Publishing. If you would like to read “The Architects”, it is included in New Short Stories 4,
which if you buy direct from the publisher between now and December 17th,
includes free entry into this year’s short story competition.
Update, June 2010
Young WH finalist receives Mailer scholarship
Pennsylvania: Morowa Yejidé has been awarded Norman Mailer’s Norris Church Mailer Scholarship in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. The widow Mrs. Mailer presented the award to Ms Yejidé at an awards banquet at the campus. “Tokyo Chocolate,” first featured in the 2009 Willesden Herald Anthology (New Short Stories 3), will also be featured in the fall issue of the Hiroshima, Japan based magazine Yomimono. Other stories by Morowa Yejidé have since been published in Bananafish Magazine and Jersey Devil Press.
Very pleased to report that twice Willesden Herald short story competition finalist Carys Davies has been awarded the Olive Cook Short Story Award for her story ‘The Quiet’. The award, worth £1,000 and judged by Jane Gardam and Jacob Ross, was set up in 2004 and is awarded every two years. Carys Davies joins previous recipients, Claire Keegan, Bethan Roberts and Alison Macleod.
Willesden Herald short story prize results 2010
The results were announced on Saturday evening April 10th at a special event in Charles Dickens’ house, 48 Doughty Street, London.
The 2010 prize mug goes to:
“The Architects” by Wena Poon
“Emily Strabnow’s Freckles” by Willie Davis
“Falling” by Henrietta Rose-Innes
Richard Peabody says:
“In my next life I’m coming back as the brainy talented author of “The Architects.” Talk about brazen, submitting a story about a contest to a writing contest. Does it work? Check. The focus might well be on writers—the same dynamics of love, jealousy, sex, and mentors, applies. New York City is captured in amber. Check. Foreign-born exiles get their due. Check. Authentic dialogue squeezes out sparks. Check. Jokes? Check. Do the juggled balls remain in the air? Check. Yes, I want to be this author, who like a sly child with an Erector Set creates miraculous buildings out of thin air.”
The fourteen top short stories for 2010 are included in New Short Stories 4, which is now available.