Actress Brenda Fricker with Virginia Gilbert at the launch of Virginia’s debut novel Travelling Companion at Dubray books, Grafton Street, Dublin, 12th September 2013. Writer and film director Virginia Gilbert’s story “Winter Lambing” took first prize in last year’s Willesden Herald international short story competition. You can read it in New Short Stories 6. Probably fair to blow a little trumpet or at least a party whistle for ourselves to celebrate the continuing success of our writers.
Thanks to LitCamp, the first prize this year now includes a writing retreat at a bookish guesthouse in Knighton/Tref-y-Clawdd, which is set amid “the lush, rolling countryside of the Welsh Marches”. It’s one week, half board, travel expenses not included. Write like demons.
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.
Description The best new short stories of 2013, as submitted to the Willesden Herald international short story competition. This year we are transported to locations in Australia, Britain, Ireland, Italy and Nigeria as vividly as in a waking dream. Relationships within and around families are played out in dramatic scenes of crisis, social alienation, dark humour and ultimately compassion. All in the company of ten writers with effulgent and compelling narrative gifts.
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.