Listen: BBC National Short Story Award 2018 stories

See if you can choose the winning story, which will get £15,000 for its author. Here’s more about the short-listed stories and the competition (BBC). Men, knock before entering.

Steve Finbow: The Murder of Andreas Baader | MIR Online

Three naked men sit on a rock. Before them, laid out on the ground, swaddled in bandages, two babies.

A nightmarish story, apparently inspired by the painting of the same name. Steve Finbow was one of the contributors to Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 1 (plug plug). He has gone on to publish several books of outstanding fiction and non-fiction. Follow the link for more details.

Read: Steve Finbow’s “The Murder of Andreas Baader” | MIR Online

Story of the Month, October 2018

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

October 2018: Everything Comes Together by Frank Haberle

“In your trailer, it’s colder and darker than outside. You pull the wad of bills out and smooth them out in your frozen red palms. There’s a twenty, a ten, and eight singles. For one flashing moment you think of your rent, now ten days late. Then you get up and start walking back to town.”

Frank Haberle

Frank Haberle’s short stories have won the 2011 Pen Parentis Award, the 2013 Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and the 2017 Beautiful Losers Magazine Award. They have appeared in magazines including the Stockholm Literary Review, Inwood Indiana, Necessary Fiction, the Adirondack Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Melic Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Cantaraville and Hot Metal Press. A professional grantwriter with nonprofit organizations, Frank is also a volunteer workshop leader for the NY Writers Coalition. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and three children.

RTÉ Radio Francis MacManus Prize 2018 | Ashes by Claire Zwaartman

The winning entry from this year’s Francis MacManus Short Story Competition, “Ashes” by Claire Zwaartman. “Ashes” is the story of a pair of siblings scattering their father’s ashes. It is about the complicated nature of family, disharmony and moving on. In their early twenties, Mike and Emer must let go of anger and resentment with this final act.

MA in Creative Writing student at UCC, Claire Zwaartman, has scooped the £3,000 first prize in the excellent Francis MacManus competition, established in 1986. “Past winners have gone on to receive national and international acclaim, including Claire Keegan, Molly McCloskey, Ivy Bannister, Anthony Glavin and Nuala O’Connor, and many more. Every year, the winning and shortlisted stories are produced and broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 in a season of new writing, read by leading actors.”

Link and reading: RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition – RTÉ Radio 1

Longhand chaos begone

Another thing you can use to help organise your work as a writer is a simple spreadsheet with a list of all your submissions. Setup columns for date, submitted to, title, pen name (if you use), result due date, fee, result, etc. Update every time you submit something or get a response. This will save you from sending the same thing to the same place again and suchlike.

S. J. Moran

Now that I’m a full time writer, I regret the years I spent writing everything longhand in notebooks, while doing the day job, which was computer programming. The first thing I’ve had to do while trying to get myself organised is to transcribe everything into computer format, where I can work with it, to “clear the decks” as they say. My mind tends towards chaos, as you would know if you saw how many different writing projects are jumbled and intertwined in the pages of my notebooks. One thing that can help to overcome one’s natural chaotic nature, is to make use of technology to the full, and let it deal with that part of the problem. I bought myself a copy of Scrivener desktop app a long time ago, for this very purpose, and I’m now using it for everything, and it’s great. Instead of having separate files in…

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The Irish Times: Caoilinn Hughes take first and third places judged by Kevin Barry

The author Kevin Barry chose not one but two of Caoilinn Hughes’ stories as his prizewinners in this year’s Moth Short Story Prize, which he judged anonymously. Psychobabble takes first prize, and is, according to Barry, “a story that walks a difficult road in terms of its tone or note – it’s a dark situation dealt with not lightly but with an effervescence in the line, in the sentence-making, and it’s this vivacity that elevates the piece above the rest. It’s both poignant and very funny, emotional yet sardonic. The writer has great control.”

via Debut novelist Caoilinn Hughes comes first (and third!) in The Moth Short Story Prize

Follow the links to read Kevin Barry’s comments in full and the three prizewinning stories in The Irish Times online.

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 | PenguinRandomHouse.com

ABOUT THE O. HENRY PRIZE STORIES 2018
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 contains twenty prize-winning stories chosen from thousands published in literary magazines over the previous year. The winning stories come from a mix of established writers and emerging voices, and are uniformly breathtaking.

via The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 | PenguinRandomHouse.com

nss3 back cover detailLooks like the O. Henry Prize anthology includes a new short story by Jo Lloyd, whose story “Work” took the Willesden Herald short story competition first prize in 2009, as judged by Rana Dasgupta. You can read it in New Short Stories 3. The mesmerising opening line from “Work” is also featured on the back cover of the book (see image).

Word counts that get through? Various

When the short story competition was running, someone asked about the word counts for stories that get through. I started to write this response and I’ve only finished today, so it’s a bit late as the competition is no more. Still, I went to the trouble to get these stats, so here goes.

The word counts for all past first prize winners of the Willesden Herald short story competition were: 2977, 2261, 6362, 4483, 7658*, 4960, 3637, 3033, 7448, 5837 and 1381.

The word count for each of the stories in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9: 4670, 4455, 6708, 5837, 1693, 6920, 2972, 6455, 3749 and 2260.

For our Short Story of the Month feature, we’re looking for stories in the range 1500 to 4500. For your info, if you’re a writer reading this in September 2018, the deadline for October’s selection is Friday 21 September. It’s always the second-last Friday of every month.

* The limit was 8000 that year, 7500 in other years. There was never a minimum.