The story so far

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

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.


Wikipedia: David Means
The Spot by David Means review by James Lasdun in the Guardian
Interview with David Means in the New York Times
Short stories by David Means in The New Yorker
NY podcast: David Means reads Chef’s House by Raymond Carver
David Means’ author page at Faber and Faber

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.

The New Short Stories book series has a sparkly new website. Oh, you’re already here.

Update, November 2012

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.

Brian Coleman, whose emotional story The Bedroom was included in New Short Stories 5, has published a collection of his stories called Bright Ripples in a Dark Pool for Amazon Kindle.

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.)

Update, September 2012

“Sanctuary”, a new short story by Henrietta Rose-Innes, has reached the short list for the BBC International Short Story Award 2012. The short-listed stories will be read by some of Britain’s most popular actors on Radio 4. Subscribe to this BBC podcast series to receive them as they are broadcast.

Update, May 2012

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)



Read all the short-listed stories in New Short Stories 6 from:

The Willesden Bookshop, Library Centre, 95 High Street, Willesden, London NW10.
Please support our local bookshop. Website

Available worldwide. To order from your preferred supplier, please quote:
“Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6” (Publisher Pretend Genius Press, 2012).
ISBN: 978-0-9778526-6-6

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

Update, March 2012

Update, February 2012

Announcement of the short list

Update, December 2011

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.

The new short story collection is Somewhere Else, or Even Here (Salt Publishing) by AJ Ashworth, whose Overnight Miracles was a great hit in New Short Stories 5.

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

Bullfighting: 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.

Here is Maggie Gee’s page on the British Council’s Cont-emporary Writers website. If that doesn’t impress you, most likely nothing will. Her latest book is a memoir My Animal Life (review).
Books (Amazon).

The international Willesden Herald short story competition 2011 is supported by Willesden Green Writers’ Group.


Update, December 2010

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.

Update, June 2010

Society of Authors‘ 2010 Awards, London, 15 June 2010

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

Equal runners-up:

“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.

Did you know?: Competition Trivia

November 2009 update: Congratulations to Willesden competition finalist Jill Widner
who has just won the Juked Fiction 2009 prize.

October 2009 update: Congratulations to Jo Lloyd, whose story “Work” won this year’s
competition, on being announced winner of the prestigious Asham Award for another of her short stories.


Author: Stephen Moran

I was born in Dublin and made my way to London on a bike in my mid-twenties. It’s where I can still be found though ever further out, most recently as far as Harrow. I no longer own a bicycle.

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