Open for submissions

I’m looking forward to reading your stories each day, and seeing which ones come to the fore early on, and if they can hold that lead all the way through.

That’s what I said in this newsletter that just went out to our subscribers. If you’re thinking of subscribing to our mailing list and want to see what past newsletters were like, here is the archive.

See here for all about the competition and how to enter.

Thanks, cheers! Steve

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Our judge for 2017 – Lane Ashfeldt

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 Ashfeldt. Photo: H.McGinty ©2016

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
Any theme

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
  • 2nd: £200
  • 3rd: £100
  • £75 to each of the remaining seven short-listed

Publication

  • All ten shortlisted stories will be published in “Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10”.
  • Two copies go to each of the ten shortlisted contributors.

Entry fee: £7.50

Submit: WillesdenHerald.Submittable.com/Submit

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New Short Stories 9: Awards and Launch

Willesden Green Library Centre, December 8th

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

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Shortlist for the Willesden Herald short story prize 2016

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:

Title Author
All That Remains Rob Hawke
The Cliffs of Bandiagara Catherine McNamara
Last Call at the Rialto Daniel Waugh
Looking for Nathalie Susan Haigh
Love and Hair Olga Zilberbourg
The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival David Lewis
Supersum Barbara Robinson
Twisted Tracy Fells
Undercurrents Gina Challen
The Volcano Anna Lewis

(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.

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A literary agent to read our winning stories

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)

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Short list for the 2014 short story competition

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.

Steve Moran

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.

Litcamp
First prize includes a writing retreat courtesy of LitCamp. Click on the image for more information.
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Charles Lambert to judge Willesden 2014

Charles Lambert
Charles Lambert

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.

Photo credit: Patrizia Casamirra

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Results of the international Willesden Herald short story competition 2013

Short List

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.

Equal runners-up:
“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.

If you would like a masterclass in short story writing, David Means will be leading WordTheatre Writers’ Workshop & Retreat on July 5-July 12, 2013 in Edale, England.

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The story so far

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 portrait by Max Means (detail)

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.

Links

Wikipedia: David Means
The Spot by David Means review by James Lasdun in the Guardian
Interview with David Means in the New York Times
Short stories by David Means in The New Yorker
NY podcast: David Means reads Chef’s House by Raymond Carver
David Means’ author page at Faber and Faber

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.

The New Short Stories book series has a sparkly new website. Oh, you’re already here.


Update, November 2012

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.

Brian Coleman, whose emotional story The Bedroom was included in New Short Stories 5, has published a collection of his stories called Bright Ripples in a Dark Pool for Amazon Kindle.

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.)


Update, September 2012

“Sanctuary”, a new short story by Henrietta Rose-Innes, has reached the short list for the BBC International Short Story Award 2012. The short-listed stories will be read by some of Britain’s most popular actors on Radio 4. Subscribe to this BBC podcast series to receive them as they are broadcast.


Update, May 2012

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)

Links

Reports

Read all the short-listed stories in New Short Stories 6 from:

The Willesden Bookshop, Library Centre, 95 High Street, Willesden, London NW10.
Please support our local bookshop. Website

Available worldwide. To order from your preferred supplier, please quote:
“Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6” (Publisher Pretend Genius Press, 2012).
ISBN: 978-0-9778526-6-6


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
.


Update, March 2012


Update, February 2012

Announcement of the short list


More

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