I dedicate the last of our 2020 lockdown series, and our last ever publication, to all those who have lost their lives and those bereaved in the Covid-19 pandemic. Follow the guidelines and stay well till all this is over. See you on the other side. (Ed.)
“For Mireille, grief seems like an impossible dream.”
Sue Haigh is a writer and Creative Writing tutor. She lives in North East Fife when she isn’t living in her cave house in France. Her work has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Northwords Now, New Writing Dundee, Mslexia, The Scottish Arts Trust anthology, Cadenza, Sunpenny Anthology, Dundee University Review of the Arts, The Short review and a number of academic journals.
As Long as it Takes was originally published in the Scottish Arts Trust Story Awards anthology (Scottish Arts Trust, 2019)
For the fourth in our summer lockdown series, a story of desperation. What could be more appropriate? And you know that light at the end of the tunnel? It's an oncoming train. Yes, it's being so cheerful that keeps us going. Ed.
“April. A figure is loitering in the vicinity of the bus station of a provincial town. He’s not the only stranger in the bus yard. There are strangers with almost every arrival and departure. There’s nothing about this man to suggest he’s a foreigner. But all the same, something in his aspect attracts suspicious looks.”
David Butler’s third novel, City of Dis (New Island), was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, 2015. His second short story collection, Fugitive, is forthcoming from Arlen House.
Unless He Is Born Again was originally published in ‘No Greater Love’ by David Butler (Ward Wood, 2013)
“Some of our great writers – from Elizabeth Strout to Mark Haddon – nominate what their favourite short story is, and tell us, in this intimate series, why they love it so much. You can watch the series here, with new choices every week”
Counting. Over the past sixteen years, Willesden Herald has published 139 short stories by 113 writers from Bosnia, Canada, China, England, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, USA and Wales.
(May 4) The story in this week’s issue, “The Resident Poet,” is a previously unpublished piece by Katherine Dunn, who died in 2016 and was the author of, among other things, the best-selling 1989 novel “Geek Love,” which follows a family of self-described “freaks” who operate and perform for a travelling circus.
I’d read “Geek Love” three times…
A previously unpublished story by the late Katherine Dunn. It’s a road trip, starts in a car park in the night rain, we go places, the resident poet is excoriated, sordid things happen, ends back in the night car park with a reflection in glass. What’s not to like? (Ed.)
For the next in our 2020 lockdown series, we revisit the joint-winner of our inaugural short story competition. Some of you may be running around without face or leg coverings for the allowed daily exercise but it's not compulsory, you know. Happily, we can still stay home and read short stories. (Ed)
“Later, in The Tinners, they sit together in Dodie’s corner on sagging burgundy plush cushions. He has bought her a cider, he drinks beer from the bottle. They talk. Dodie is half listening, looking at the scratches through the varnish on the table…”
Novelist, short story writer, poet, Vanessa Gebbie has won awards for both poetry and prose, including the Troubadour International Poetry Prize, a Bridport short story prize and a much-coveted Willesden Herald short story prize. Author of ten various books, her novel The Coward’s Tale (Bloomsbury) was a Financial Times novel of the year, and her debut poetry pamphlet was selected by the TLS as one of the best of its year. She is commissioning and contributing editor of Short Circuit, Guide to the Art of the Short Story, editions 1 and 2 (Salt). She teaches widely. www.vanessagebbie.com
The author of “Dodie’s Gift” cares about character. It is a beautiful piece about two people circling each other, wondering whether to make contact.
Zadie Smith (Judge’s report – Willesden short story prize 2006)
In the second of our 2020 lockdown series, you are the writer. Have you ever missed a step on the stairs or turned back in fear? Have you ever given someone a piece of your mind? Are you an object of desire or the subject? Stay home. Ed.
“As Richard tends the first patient of the evening – a young woman with black eye make-up and an arm wound – he thinks of the pills, safe in their bottle, doubly safe in his jacket, safer still in his locker. The arm wound is self-inflicted. It is too precise.”
Nick Holdstock is the author of The Casualties, a novel, and several books about China.