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)
We are pleased and not a little excited to announce the judge for the international Willesden Herald New Short Stories 2016 competition.
Katy Darby’s short fiction has won various prizes, been read on BBC Radio 4, and appeared in magazines and anthologies including Stand, Mslexia, Slice, The London Magazine and the Arvon/Daily Telegraph Anthology. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing from UEA, where she won the David Higham Award. Her first novel, The Unpierced Heart, is published by Penguin (Fig Tree). She is a Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at City University, is Literary Editor of .Cent and a former editor of Litro magazine, and co-founded and directs the award-winning short story event Liars’ League (www.liarsleague.com).
There’s nothing that Katy doesn’t know about short stories, especially since Liars’ League recently celebrated its 100th themed live event, in possibly her 100th costume. Liars’ League has given their first break to dozens of new and up-and-coming writers, with their stories brought to life by a company of superb actors. For a fiver you can catch the show every second Tuesday of the month Downstairs at the Phoenix, Cavendish Square in London’s West End.
We are delighted to announce that this year’s story competition is supported by the mighty Liars’ League, the literary spoken word event that is taking the world by storm, after starting in London, and now with cousins in Hong Kong, New York and other cities near and far. For the past several years, the Liars’ League company have provided the readings at the Willesden Herald results and anthology launch events, which has made them rather wonderful nights. It’s a unique delight for a writer to hear her or his words brought to life by professional actors in front of a live audience. This is one of the things that makes our short story competition so special.
It’s been a while. We’re going back to a simpler time when the first prize was an inscribed mug. Closing date for entries will be August 31st. All the details are on the Submittable page. Looking forward to reading for Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9.
Recent publications by contributors & friends of New Short Stories
- A House Called Askival by Merryn Glover
- Brick Mother by S. J. Bradley
- The Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin
- Cowboy Genes and Other Stories by Wes Lee
- The Closet of Savage Mementos by Nuala Ní Chonchúir
- Saltwater by Lane Ashfeldt
- Looking out of Broken Windows by Dan Powell
- With a Zero at its Heart by Charles Lambert
Of course there are many other publications by contributors and friends of New Short Stories but these are ones that I have noticed lately. Those above and other authors included in New Short Stories are well published and have new books on the way, all over the world. If I have missed any recent ones, do let me know and I’ll update this list, if you like. I know I’ve missed many over the years, such as the marvellous Ninevah by Henrietta Rose-Innes. And I almost forgot that Charles was a contributor as well as a judge! :)
I think this will be my last update here for a while. It’s been fun. Please come sometime and see my new home page as a writer. Steve over and out. Sláinte!
Willesden, April 16: Charles Lambert announced the prize-winning stories in 2014 Willesden Herald short story competition.
1st prize goes to:
Ward by Nick Holdstock
Postman’s Knock by Angela Sherlock
Such is her Power by Joan Brennan
Thanks to all who came to BAR Gallery this evening and to everyone who helped out with the event. Read all the stories in New Short Stories 8.
Bonus: Spotify playlist
So what’s all this malarkey then? You can read more about the history of the competition and the previous results here. Below is the judge’s report for the very first competition (2005-2006). Two winning stories, 2006 and 2007, were published by the Guardian Online. In the first year we didn’t have an official anthology, though we acquired a couple of the stories for another anthology that Pretend Genius Press was compiling at the time.
Judge’s report – Willesden short story prize 2006, when there were joint winners, Vanessa Gebbie and Mikey Delgado.
The author of “Dodie’s gift” cares about character. It is a beautiful piece about two people circling each other, wondering whether to make contact. The collision of kindness and malevolence that results is very well drawn. At the end of the story, when one party is damaged by the other, we find we have cared for her, and in such a short piece of work that is a real achievement.
“Secure” is a stylish, flinty piece of writing that makes the reader work and rewards the commitment. It is angry and passionate without ever sacrificing the precision of its pared-down, effective prose. Unlike many of the stories we read, it allows almost no space at all for cliche – and this marked it out from the first. It feels like the beginning of a longer piece of work and it should be.
Here’s Zadie’s verdict from 2007, when Willie Davis’s story won:
“Amongst many high concept competitors, ‘Kid in a Well’ stood out for me for its relative simplicity, neat characterisation, and laconic, relaxed structure. It’s a story genuinely interested in its characters rather than fascinated with its own form, and offers the reader humour over authorial hubris. I really enjoyed it. Congratulations, Willie, and enjoy your mug! I have one and I love it.” Zadie Smith
Note: They included Mikey Delgado and Willie Davis in their lists of short fiction by contemporary authors, where they were listed together with the likes of Arthur Miller, William Trevor etc – you name them, all the best ones, listed together on the same page. That was a good prize in itself, I think.
Read “Secure” by Mikey Delgado: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/mar/21/originalwriting.fiction
Read “Kid in a Well” by Willie Davis: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/jan/16/originalwriting.fiction3
And here’s the Guardian’s news report for Kid in a Well: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/jan/16/news
Zadie Smith was the judge for the first three years. Since then we’ve had Charles Lambert, David Means, Roddy Doyle, Maggie Gee, Richard Peabody and Rana Dasgupta.
It’s been interesting…
- “Ward” by Nick Holdstock
- “Cotton-Fisted Scorpions” by Medina Tenour Whiteman
- “Postman’s Knock” by Angela Sherlock
- “The Beekeeper’s Daughters” by Gina Challen
- “Piercings” by Jo Barker Scott
- “Rock Pools” by CG Menon
- “Rip Rap” by Dan Powell
- “Rash” by Megan Taylor
- “The Stealing” by Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson
- “Such is her Power” by Joan Brennan
Sensual and atmospheric, embattled and defiant, in the throes of turbulent events and viewing from a distance, these stories are windows that open onto the men, women and children of our twenty-first century world. The people portrayed do not seek our pity nor our love but with each turn of a page, we may feel that we want to reach out to them to say, I know, I know, I know – you are not alone.
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.
Now available here