The New Short Stories book series presents the best stories each year from the international Willesden Herald short story competition. The first competition was opened by Stephen Moran in 2005, with the results in 2006. There was no official anthology in the first year, but two of the short-listed stories appeared in the Pretend Genius anthology, Fish Drink Like Us. Winning stories from 2006 and 2007 were featured in The Guardian modern fiction pages.

For the first three years, entry was free, and partial sponsorship was obtained from friends and the local writing group. At that time the rules stated that there would be no winner selected if a sufficient standard was not reached. After failing to pick a winner in 2008, we decided to introduce an entry fee and also guarantee that winning entries would always be selected.

Accounts for each year were published in the Willesden Herald blog. Reading, judging and book design were all done on a voluntary basis, gratis except for a Willesden Herald mug and a copy of the book. The books are now published in the UK and US by Willesden Herald Books, an imprint of Pretend Genius Press, which is an informal co-operative venture based in Maryland, USA.


Judge: Zadie Smith
Joint 1st prize to “Dodie’s Gift” by Vanessa Gebbie and “Secure” by Mikey Delgado

Short List:
“Abe and his Girlfriend” by Jacqui Rowe
“Dodie’s Gift” by Vanessa Gebbie
“In Summer” by Michael McCudden
“Sasquatch” by Tao Lin
“Sé” by Nuala Ní Chonchúir
“Secure” by Mikey Delgado
“Ta’waaf: Circling the Holy Ka’aba” by Bilal Ghafoor
“The Finding” by Valerie Trueblood
“The History of Imagining About Blue Horses” by Sean Brijbasi
“Who Would’ve Guessed?” by Raewyn Alexander

View 2006 results in full

Read “Secure” by Mikey Delgado on The Guardian website
Read “Dodie’s Gift” here on Story of the Month

Judge: Zadie Smith
1st prize to “Kid in a Well” by Willie Davis

“Atlantic Drift” by Arthur Allan
“Felipe and the Sea” by Jonathan Attrill
“Born Again” by Shakti Bhatt
“Kid in a Well” by Willie Davis
“Mrs Nakamoto Takes a Vacation” by Steve Finbow
“Avoiding the Issue” by Laura Heggie
“Paradise” by Nicholas Hogg
“Vaselino” by Lee Joans
“Jolt” by James Lawless
“The Dead Don’t Do That Kind of Thing” by Wes Lee
“Charles Magezi-Akiiki” by Olesya Mishechkina
“Alternative Medicine” by Laura Solomon
“Words from a Glass Bubble” by Vanessa Gebbie writing as Tobias Williams

View 2007 results in full

Read “Kid in a Well” by Willie Davis on The Guardian website

Judge: Rana Dasgupta
1st prize to “Work” by Jo Lloyd

Short List:
“Propitiation” by Jenny Barden
“The Imperfect Roundness of Things” by Claudia Boers
“The Hate Club” by Ben Cheetham
“The Travellers” by Carys Davies
“Ante-Purgatory” by Carol Farrelly
“Amy” by Nick Holdstock
“Work” by Jo Lloyd
“Ebb Tide” by Margot Taylor
“Mina and Fina and Lotte Wattimena” by Jill Widner
“Tokyo Chocolate” by Morowa Yejidé

View 2009 results in full

Judge: Richard Peabody
1st prize to “The Architects” by Wena Poon

“Busy. Come. Wait.” – Tom Vowler
“Emily Strabnow’s Freckles” – Willie Davis
“Falling” – Henrietta Rose-Innes
“Hope Street” – Paul McGuire
“In the Land of Flies” – Julia Goubert
“Learning Stick” – Jarred McGinnis
“Letters” – Nuala Ní Chonchúir
“Love and Longing in the Marvellous City” – Jonathan Attrill
“Monkey Hat” – Kevin Spaide
“Pearl” – Peggy Riley
“Precious” – Carys Davies
“Shutters” – Jo Cannon
“The Architects” – Wena Poon
“Veronika and Roger-Roger” – Toby Litt

View 2010 results in full

Judge: Maggie Gee
1st prize to “Out of Season” by Mary O’Shea

Short List:
“Apartment” by Y.J. Zhu
“Blue Raincoat” by Teresa Stenson
“Dancing with the Flag Man” by Nemone Thornes
“Gusul” by Adnan Mahmutovic
“Homecoming” by Alex Barr
“Out of Season” by Mary O’Shea
“Overnight Miracles” by A.J. Ashworth
“Set Dance” by Angela Sherlock
“The Bedroom” by Micheal Coleman
“The Place” by David Frankel
“Thingummy Wotsit” by Adrian Sells
“Victor” by Emma Martin

View 2011 results in full

Judge: Roddy Doyle
1st prize to “Winter Lambing” by Virginia Gilbert

Short List:
“Artist” by Y.J. Zhu
“Clingfilm” by Francis Scappaticci
“Curtains” by Charles Lambert
“Frost Heave” by Geraldine Mills
“Half” by Nick Holdstock
“In the Service of the Demon” by Jo Barker Scott
“Relativity” by Mary O’Shea
“Slimebank Taxonomy” by Eliza Robertson
“The Coastal Shelf” by Dermot Duffy
“Winter Lambing” by Virginia Gilbert

View 2012 results in full

Judge: David Means
1st prize to “Holidaying with the Megarrys” by Danielle McLaughlin

Short List:
“All Its Little Sounds and Silences” by Barnaby Walsh
“Bolt” by Thomas Morris
“Dance Class” by SJ Bradley
“Donor” by Nici West
“The Gift” by Alistair Daniel
“Hangman” by Angela Sherlock
“Holidaying with the Megarrys” by Danielle McLaughlin
“Last Payment” by Anna Lewis
“Rip” by Merryn Glover
“Round Fat Moon and Jingling Stars” by Marie Murphy

View 2013 results in full

Judge: Charles Lambert
1st prize to “Ward” by Nick Holdstock

Short List:
“Piercings” by Jo Barker Scott
“Such is her Power” by Joan Brennan
“The Beekeeper’s Daughters” by Gina Challen
“Ward” by Nick Holdstock
“Rock Pools” by CG Menon
“Rip Rap” by Dan Powell
“Postman’s Knock” by Angela Sherlock
“Rash” by Megan Taylor
“The Stealing” by Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson
“Cotton-Fisted Scorpions” by Medina Tenour Whiteman

View 2014 results in full

Judge: Katy Darby
1st prize to “Love and Hair” by Olga Zilberbourg

Short List:
“The Volcano” by Anna Lewis
“The Cliffs of Bandiagara” by Catherine McNamara
“Supersum” by Barbara Robinson
“Twisted” by Tracy Fells
“The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival” by David Lewis
“Undercurrents” by Gina Challen
“Love and Hair” by Olga Zilberbourg
“Last Call at the Rialto” by Daniel Waugh
“Looking for Nathalie” by Susan Haigh
“All that Remains” by Rob Hawke

View 2016 results in full

Judge: Lane Ashfeldt
1st prize to “Dark Song” by Roberta Dewa

Short List:
“A History of Fire” by Gerard McKeown
“Art Zoo” by Paul Martin
“Dark Song” by Roberta Dewa
“Isa’s Pitch” by Maureen Cullen
“Rictus” by Tanvir Bush
“Swimming Lessons” by Douglas Hill
“The Day John Lennon Died” by Raphael Falco
“The Fish that was not my Pa” by Meganrose Weddle
“The Quarry” by Katherine Davey
“Trespass” by Roland Miles

View 2017 results in full

Editor: Stephen Moran
Introduction by: Gina Challen


“Miss Maughan” by JL Bogenschneider
“Satellites” by Ursula Brunetti
“Forgiveness” by Carol Dines
“Dark in Here” by Derek Dirckx
“Only Human” by Sarah Evans
“Fireball Outfit” by Jeff Ewing
“Meadowlands” by David Frankel
“Voyager” by Ray French
“To Have a Ghost Baby” by N. Jane Kalu
“Caboose” by Marylee MacDonald
“The Emperor of Russia” by Jaki McCarrick
“Rabbit Season” by Gerard McKeown
“Vole or Mole” by Jay Merill
“The Watcher” by Diana Powell
“The garden designer” by John Saul

2019 author profiles and links

“Watch this space!”


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