Consideration

Update: We don’t charge a reading fee, so we’re a bit stricken in the moola department. However, each Short Story of the Month author will receive one of our back catalogue books. There are ten anthologies of short stories and two of poetry, as listed on our Books page.

Complete Results, Biographies and Book Cover etc.

I have just sent a newsletter to our 1762 subscribers, with the cover reveal, biographies, publication details etc for Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10 and other news. Link to view online: Newsletter.

Many thanks to Stratos Fountoulis for the cover design and once again to Lane Ashfeldt, to Liars’ League for continuing support over the years, and to the much-missed Willesden Green Writers’ Group, who helped keep this competition going through hell & high water. And all writers everywhere, here’s to you!

The publication date is 1 December 2017, so watch this space for how to get hold of a copy of New Short Stories 10. Thank you.

 

Names of the 20 Stories on the Long List

We’ve decided to do like some other contests do and announce the names of stories on our long list, but not the authors. Please don’t give the game away if you recognise one of these, as the judging is not yet complete.

We expect to complete the judging and have a short list by the end of the month, at which time we will reveal the authors. Meanwhile, here are the long-listed stories, in crude alphabetical order by story title.

A History of Fire
Air
Art Zoo
Dancing Her Black Bones Home
Dark Rain Falling
Dark Song
Isa’s Pitch
Out by the Lough
Overnight in the Day Room
Reverse Reaction
Rictus
Swimming Lessons
The Collectors
The Day John Lennon Died
The Fish that was not my Pa
The Lapidary
The Nationals
The Quarry
Trespass
Winter Kale

Our judge, Lane Ashfeldt, has reported “being hopelessly distracted from other work by reading the stories on the list.” She also assured us she is enjoying every minute, and is impressed by the high standard of the stories.

Thanks to all who entered, and I can confirm that every entry this year was a valiant attempt and there was considerable contention to get onto the long list of 20 out of 445.

Steve

A few maybes about fiction

The joy of fiction is not in finding out what the writer knows, it’s the writer finding out what we know. Characters the writer hated turn out to be better than the writer imagined. Characters the writer loved were not all they were cracked-up to be. If non-fiction is for us to find out what the author knows then maybe fiction is an exploration in which the author sets out to discover what we know. Then like other discoveries, it sounds obvious when we hear it. We knew that all along.
 
Reading fiction is following with the logic of music, notes that establish a theme, counterpoint, development, allegro, largo, andante, the theme returns, resolution… The music is out there; it’s David in a block of marble, stories in the burble of a café, the susurration of congregants, the gull cries of a spoon stirring medicine in a glass, the sound of a small hammer on tin, which turns out to be a finch, the train sound from miles away that only carries on moonless nights…
 
(And always a basketball bouncing, though nobody round here plays basketball. Always children babbling and shrieking, though there are no children round here. Sometimes a jet flies low overhead though we’re not on any flight path. Helicopters hovering where the streets are too small to land. The same Jehovah’s witnesses call every couple of months, disbelieving the mezzuzah. Visits by the Seventh Day Adventists are settling into a pattern. The Church of Latter Day Saints is overstretched. A hungry teen with crow’s feet round his eyes sells flannels from a tray while a Merc. waits round the corner. The parcelmen knock and run away.)
 
But what does it matter? Turn the page, our hero is going somewhere, to where people are and there will be tea, JD, opium and lashings of ginger ale.
 
We are the lost tribe, the lost tribe of us, enrapt in a florid delusion of consciousness, where spirits live in history, and offerings are made on stage to gods of theatre, and there are such laughable concepts as careers, status, security and wisdom. Where everyone is a shaman drunk on industry, spinning in train carriages of spear-carrying accountants, trouping in powdery makeup through jungles of wire.
 
Originally published in my blog Museum of Illusions