Story of the Month, January 2023

We're back with a new series of original short stories online. Don't worry, the reprints are still there somewhere on the menu too. And what better way to start the year than with a tale of young people in a northern town, somewhere near the sea and the eternal question about staying or leaving. Ed.

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

January 2023: This One-Trick Town by Amanda Huggins

“There was a far-off shimmer to the north, and Da told her it was the glow of Newcastle, luring the unwary with her swagger and shine. Annie knew he’d made it up, that you wouldn’t be able to see the city lights from so far away, but she went along with it unquestioningly, as though she believed every word. ”

Amanda Huggins

Amanda Huggins is the author of the novellas Crossing the Lines and All Our Squandered Beauty as well as several collections of short stories and poetry. Her work has also appeared in a wide range of journals and newspapers and on BBC Radio. She has won numerous awards, including three Saboteur Awards, the BGTW New Travel Writer of the Year, and the Colm Tóibín and H E Bates short story prizes. She was also a runner-up in the Costa Short Story Award and the Fish Short Story Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and many others.

Call for Submissions: Story of the Month

This feature is open for submissions again from 5 January 2023.

Story of the Month is an occasional feature for literary fiction. The word range for new submissions is from 1000 to 3000 words. There is no reading fee. Payment is a copy of one of our past anthologies. Please read the guidelines in full before submitting. We are seeking to publish new stories by writers not previously featured in Story of the Month or not featured for more than a year. Story of the Month is online only, not for print publication.

Willesden Results and Awards Event on YouTube (slideshow/audio)

A happy and peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah and general winter wingding to all who love short stories. This is our gift to you! Willesden Herald Short Story Competition 2022 Results and Book Launch.

Short clips for those in a hurry? Step right this way…

One minute: intro to Jarred and cheer for the Willesden Writers’ Group
One minute: the verdict: first prize goes to…

Want to play the whole one and a half hours and have done with it [because it’s so entertaining – Ed.]?

Willesden Herald in association with Liars’ League presents
THE WILLESDEN SHORT STORY PRIZE 2022

With Special Guest
CLAIRE LACEY

Introduced by
KATY DARBY – www.katydarby.com

In association with Liars’ League – www.liarsleague.com

Slideshow and complete recording of the event, with story excerpts, results and prizegiving

“Who will take the coveted one-off Willesden Herald inscribed The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022? All will be revealed on the night. Plus ten cash prizes to the writers of the stories in New Short Stories 12. From The Performance Space, upstairs in The Library at Willesden Green.”

Buy! Buy! [Bye Bye! ed] New Short Stories 12

Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 12

Contents

“I can just say read these wonderful wonderful stories. They were an absolute pleasure to read and I hope you too will enjoy these writers as much as I did.”

Jarred McGinnis

Available from (latest info)

isbn: 979-8-9859089-1-6

Contributors

David Butler’s most recent short story collection is Fugitive (Arlen House, 2021). His novel City of Dis (New Island) was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, 2015.


Helen Harjak was born in Estonia, studied literature and philosophy in Scotland, and now lives in London, where she works as a freelance journalist and copy-editor. Her fiction has been published in Okay Donkey, Visual Verse, Fudoki Magazine, and Small Good Things, an anthology by Dahlia Books.


Catherine McNamara grew up in Sydney, ran away to Paris to write and ended up in West Africa co-running a bar. Love Stories for Hectic People won Best Short Story Collection in the Saboteur Awards 2021. The Cartography of Others was finalist in the People’s Book Prize. Catherine lives in Italy and her stories have been published widely.


Andy Mead is a retired teacher who was brought up in Jamaica in the 1960’s and still retains strong links with that island he still regards as home. He has an MA in creative writing from the University of Chichester and is now a private tutor, writer and storyteller.


Jackie Morris is a recent graduate of The Open University’s MA in Creative Writing (2021). She writes short form and flash fiction and spends far too much time on Twitter. Her husband has no interest in chickens.


Peter Newall was born in Sydney, Australia, where he worked variously in a naval dockyard, as a musician and as a lawyer, but has since lived in Kyoto, Japan, and now in Odessa, Ukraine, where he sings for a popular local r’n’b group, the Newall Band. He has been published in England, Hong Kong, Australia and the USA.


Diana Powell’s stories have featured in a number of competitions, including the 2020 SoA ALCS Tom-Gallon Award (runner-up) and the 2019 ChipLit Prize (winner) and most recently the Bristol Short Story Prize 2022 (winner). They have also been published in several anthologies and journals, such as ‘Best (British) Short Stories 2020’. Her novella, ‘Esther Bligh’, was published in 2018 by Holland House Books. Her collection, ‘Trouble Crossing the Bridge’ came out in 2020. Her novella, ‘The Sisters of Cynvael’, won the 2021 Cinnamon Press Literature Award, and will be published next year.


Anju Sharma grew up in Uttar Pradesh, India, majored in history from Delhi University, worked as a copy-writer, taught copywriting, then went back to being a student – this time of literature – purely through the act of intense reading. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Maine Review, The Margins, The Forge and Nelle. She is shortlisted for Bridport Short Story Prize 2022 and longlisted for Desperate Literature Short Fiction prize 2022. She is presently working on a novel.


Lui Sit writes in multiple genres including adult short fiction, memoir and children’s middle grade books. She is an alumnus of several writers’ development schemes including A Brief Pause, London Writers Award and Penguin WriteNow. Her stories are published in journals and anthologies including MAINSTREAM, Superlative, Short Good Things, Fudoki, City of Stories and Out of The Box. Update: Writing for children, Lui Sit has just won the Faber FAB Prize 2022 for text with “The Legend of Linger Island” (Puffin).


Zakia Uddin is a short story writer whose previous work has been published by The White Review, The Stinging Fly and Granta. Winner of the Willesden Herald short story prize 2022. She lives in London.


Announcement: Results of the Willesden Short Story Prize 2022

The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022 was revealed at Willesden Library this evening. First prize went to “Hotline” by Zakia Uddin (left). 

Runners-up were “Vevey” by Catherine McNamara and “Cuckquean” by Jackie Morris. 

Thanks to Claire Lacey and Katy Darby for bringing the stories to life and making the event go with a zing. 

Thanks to Jarred McGinnis for judging and to the writers of all ten shortlisted stories, as every one is a prize-winner in this short story competition. (Ed.)

BBC 2022: “Blue 4eva” by Saba Sams

You can read the winning entry in the BBC National Short Story Award 2022 below this report in Guardian Online: Blue 4eva by Saba Sams.

“Blue 4eva is [also] available to listen to on BBC Sounds, appears in the BBC National Short Story Award 2022 (Comma Press, £7.99) and in Saba Sams’ debut collection, Send Nudes (Bloomsbury, £14.99)” (Guardian) 

New Short Stories 12 – first look

From Willesden Herald Books, an imprint of Pretend Genius Press

The best of the Willesden Short Story Prize 2020

Short fiction by David Butler, Helen Harjak, Catherine McNamara, Andy Mead, Jackie Morris, Diana Powell, Peter Newall, Anju Sharma, Lui Sit, Zakia Uddin

With an introduction by Jarred McGinnis

Launch: The Performance Space, Willesden Green Library, 8 November 2022, from 7pm


Cover by Stratos Fountoulis based on an original photo by Stephen Moran

Announcement: Shortlist for the Willesden Short Story Prize 2022

The ten stories shortlisted for the Willesden Short Story Prize 2022 in alphabetical order by author

  • Shoes by David Butler
  • Remembering Not Forgetting by Helen Harjak
  • Vevey by Catherine McNamara
  • Haircut by Andy Mead
  • Cuckquean by Jackie Morris
  • My Last Journey with Baron Baldanders by Peter Newall
  • Empathy by Diana Powell
  • Things we see, things we don’t by Anju Sharma
  • Forecast for Rain by Lui Sit
  • Hotline by Zakia Uddin

Thanks to all who entered for making our selection task so difficult with the high standard of writing. The total number of entries was 371. It was painful having to leave out many outstanding short stories.  

There will be a special event to announce 1st prize and runners-up and to launch the anthology, New Short Stories 12. Details to follow. 

LA Times review: Two Nurses Smoking: Stories by David Means

“That’s how we salvage the past, locating the small stories and passing them carefully into the future,” a grieving mother confides in “Stopping Distance.” At the same time, she continues, “The story of my loss isn’t something I want to pass on. The only thing I can pass on is the silence.”

From LA Times’ review of Two Nurses Smoking: Stories by David Means

David Means was the judge for Willesden Herald New Short Stories 7 (2013).

Coming Soon: New Short Stories 12

Announcement: 371 entries received. Ten to comprise New Short Stories 12. “Watch this space.”