Story of the Month, December 2021

Not much sign of mystical religious experience in contemporary short stories, is there? We are here to remedy that with another unusual story of the month. Prepare to be conveyed to the boundary between the here and now and the ineffable beyond. Ed.

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

December 2021: Not Like a River, But a Tree by James Roderick Burns

Seated again, he closed his eyes. Now and then he had sampled High Anglican services (had, in fact, dragged along both Maureen and the children) where the priest broke out the censer, smoking the pews like a beekeeper gently rousing his charges, but he preferred things here in the cathedral: high enough, quite solemn to be sure, but musical and slightly imperfect; human, somehow, and all the better for it. Sometimes he’d invited people from the office.

James Roderick Burns’ short story collection, Beastly Transparencies, is due from Eyewear Publishing in 2022. He is the author of three collections of poetry – most recently The Worksongs of the Worms (2018, haiku) – and a short fiction pamphlet, A Bunch of Fives. His work has appeared in a number of journals and magazines, including The Guardian, Modern Haiku, The North and The Scotsman.


Story of the Month, November 2021

Give your mind a workout with a short story that I, for one, will not forget any time soon. Ed.

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

November 2021: The Blood of Our Virtue Smells Like Dirt by Jessica Fogal

Her mouth is wide and painted royal blue, her teeth stark white in comparison as she bares them at the ceiling in thought. She can pass for a corpse pulled cold from the salty water of the ocean outside her window, frail and blue and perfectly preserved.

“What do you want to be?” She asks me.

Jessica Fogal

Jessica Fogal lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (USA), where she’s a full time legal assistant, amateur street photographer, and author. She’s been published in The Ilanot Review and has had many prints showcased in art galleries such as Terrain Spokane, and continues to use her lifelong passions for performance, visual, and literary arts as an inspiration for her creative writings.

Lucy Caldwell Takes BBC National Short Story Award 2021

Twitter: Lucy Caldwell shares links to some of her stories online

Three-time nominated Lucy Caldwell has won the sixteenth BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) with ‘All the People Were Mean and Bad’, a story taken from her 2021 collection, Intimacies. The news was announced live on BBC Front Row by 2021 Chair of Judges, James Runcie. Caldwell, a multi-award-winning writer from Belfast, was previously shortlisted in 2012 and 2019.

BBC Radio 4 National Short Story Award 2021

2022 One Dublin One Book: “Nora” by Nuala O’Connor

“Every year we choose a book that we hope will capture the imaginations of the people of Dublin, of all ages and walks of life, and I know that Nora will prove a rewarding reading experience for all who engage with One Dublin One Book 2022. For the centenary of the publication of Ulysses, it’s important for us to honour the contemporary writers Joyce has inspired, as well as the woman who inspired him. We look forward to working with Nuala O’Connor to create a programme of events next April that we hope will encourage many discussions and conversations.”

Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens

David Butler wins the Benedict Kiely Short Story Prize 2021

Announcement from the Omagh Literary Festival on Twitter

“Unless He Is Born Again” by David Butler was our Story of the Month for August, 2020

Congratulations to David Butler on winning this competition, which is part of the Omagh Literary Festival, and named in honour of the great Irish short story writer Benedict Kiely. It’s always gratifying to see past contributors making more waves. (Ed.)

Story of the Month, October 2021

We're back with all new stories. Here's something to think about because, you know, nothing at all is happening in the world these days, is it? Read the whole story before you make up your mind about this one. It might not be just what you think. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

October 2021: How They Do by Jack R. Johnson

“Al Nash kept the dark secret of his hair loss hidden under his favorite blue
canvas Navy cap, and pulled it even lower as he told his son, Troy Nash, about
Robert E. Lee …”

Jack R. Johnson

Jack R. Johnson is a monthly columnist for North of the James Magazine in Richmond, Virginia; an editor of The Alliance for Progressive Virginia blog and a contributor to Style Magazine. His published works include short stories, articles and the novel, An Animal’s Guide to Earthly Salvation. His latest novel, In Black and White, is scheduled to be published by Propertius Press in 2022.

Call for Submissions – Short Stories

Story of the Month is back as an occasional feature.

I look forward to reading those new short stories that are out there somewhere, running around, gambolling and frisking but also lazily drowsing, hysterical or … actually this could be quite a long list, so let’s just say send your best. (Steve)

Photo: Editor in Gladstone Park, attended by atomies, 2009

Leave Society – a new novel by Tao Lin

1. New York Times article. 2. Penguin Leave Society by Tao Lin. 3. About Willesden Herald Stories

Tokyo – a novel by Nicholas Hogg

Nicholas Hogg’s short story Paradise was included in the first Willesden Herald New Short Stories anthology. He has gone on to great things. Visit NicholasHogg.com.

Johnny Boy – a novel by John Califano

JOHNNY CARUSO IS BORN into the urban turmoil of 1950s and ’60s working-class Brooklyn. Wedged between the limited worldview of his parents—alcoholic and abusive Bellisario and browbeaten, unstable Maria—and his liberal-minded older brother and sister, young Johnny struggles to navigate his childhood and adolescence.

Verve House Books

Thank you to John Califano for including Willesden Herald New Short Stories in the Acknowledgments for Johnny Boy. His story Independence Day was our Story of the Month, August 2018.