The View from the Tower

Cover of The View from the Tower by Charles Lambert
The View from the Tower by Charles Lambert is now available for pre-order on Amazon UK and US. It has been described as ‘a literary and psychologically charged murder mystery that slowly cuts deep to the bone’ and is a prequel to Charles’s previous novel Any Human Face. (More)

Charles Lambert is the judge for this year’s Willesden short story competition.

Virginia Gilbert: debut novel launched

Actress Brenda Fricker with Virginia Gilbert at the launch of Virginia’s debut novel Travelling Companion at Dubray books, Grafton Street, Dublin, 12th September 2013. Writer and film director Virginia Gilbert’s story “Winter Lambing” took first prize in last year’s Willesden Herald international short story competition. You can read it in New Short Stories 6. Probably fair to blow a little trumpet or at least a party whistle for ourselves to celebrate the continuing success of our writers.

Charles Lambert to judge Willesden 2014

Charles Lambert

We are delighted and honoured that the acclaimed writer, Charles Lambert, has agreed to be our judge for the 2013-14 international Willesden Herald short story prize.

“Born in England, Charles Lambert has been living in Italy since 1980. His début novel, Little Monsters, was published by Picador in March 2008 and his story The Scent of Cinnamon was selected as one of the O Henry Prize Stories 2007. … He now lives in Fondi, exactly halfway between Rome and Naples, a stone’s throw from what was once the Appian Way.” (guardian.co.uk)

Charles’ second novel “Any Human Face” was published by Picador in May 2010. Just this year, his agent made the following announcement: “The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency is pleased to announce two new deals with UK publishers for Charles Lambert. Angry Robot’s crime imprint, has acquired World English Language rights to two novels by Charles Lambert. The first to be published will be THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER, a gripping psychological thriller about friendship, love and betrayal, which begins with the killing of a high-level Italian civil servant when his wife is in a Rome hotel room with her lover, not far from the scene of the assassination. She must cut through the complex web of deceit that surrounds her in order to discover who is responsible.” (Charles Lambert – Wordpress).

You can see that only the highest standard of writing will suffice to set before this writers’ writer, also very much a readers’ writer. So you’d better round up those stray stories, throw a bucket of water over them and start schooling them if they are going to get anywhere in the annual Willesden story gala. Opening 1 August 2013.

Photo credit: Patrizia Casamirra

New Short Stories 7

Description The best new short stories of 2013, as submitted to the Willesden Herald international short story competition. This year we are transported to locations in Australia, Britain, Ireland, Italy and Nigeria as vividly as in a waking dream. Relationships within and around families are played out in dramatic scenes of crisis, social alienation, dark humour and ultimately compassion. All in the company of ten writers with effulgent and compelling narrative gifts.

Available from: Barnes & NobleAmazon.comAmazon.co.uk

ISBN 978-0-9852133-1-2

Publisher Pretend Genius Press, 1 May 2013

2013 – New Short Stories 7

Contents

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

We are transported to locations in Australia, Britain, Ireland, Italy and Nigeria as vividly as in a waking dream. Relationships within and around families are played out in dramatic scenes of crisis, social alienation, dark humour and ultimately compassion. All in the company of ten writers with compelling narrative gifts.

Available from:

isbn: 978-0985213312

Contributors (2013)

Continue reading “2013 – New Short Stories 7”

From New Short Stories 1

From “Kid in a Well” by Willie Davis

“…So I wait until they’re gone, pour some of my dad’s rum in a Styrofoam cup. I knew I couldn’t just sit next to her and make googly eyes without getting maced, so I look for a book or something I can pretend to read. But nobody in my family reads, so there were no books in the room, except for my brother’s Encyclopedia Browns and that might give off the wrong impression.”

“Oh yeah,” Jesse said. “You wouldn’t want her to think the seventeen year-old who spends his vacation ogling her was unsophisticated.”

“Right,” I said. “So I go in and take out the Gideon’s Bible. My mom left her compact in the sink, so I taped it on the inside pages. That way, I could admire my new moustache without seeming vain in front of her.”

 

From “Mrs. Nakamoto Takes a Vacation” by Steve Finbow 

Later that evening in an izakaya in Ginza over beer and yakitori, Mrs. Matsuda, slightly drunk, admitted to Mrs. Nakamoto that her husband beat her. He would come home from work, eat his food in silence, read the newspaper’s sports section and, after neatly folding it, would nod his head. Mrs. Matsuda would strip naked, bend over a chair and Mr. Matsuda, taking a three-foot bamboo cane from the kitchen cupboard, would issue a dozen lashes to Mrs. Matsuda’s buttocks. …  Looking up, she smiled and in a voice Mrs. Nakamoto could barely hear Mrs. Matsuda said that she was embarrassed to admit it but, yes, she quite enjoyed it.

 

From “Jolt” by James Lawless

Three or four goats appear and start following them. They frighten him as they get closer with their horns, bells tinkling. She laughs at him. He’s embarrassed. Kathleen knows goats. They had them on the farm in Galway.

She sheds her shyness in the open countryside. She wants to make love al fresco. There is no one about except for the goats. She breathes in deeply the fragrance of the pines. Lying down on the scorched earth, she loosens her blouse, drawing him into her. ‘Is it possible, Michael? Say it’s possible.’

 

From “Paradise” by Nicholas Hogg

My father was born at the height of clouds. He entered the world wailing, lungs pumping the mountain air and desperate for oxygen. He lived because he had the breath of a Kalenjin, as had his father and his grandfather before, a long line of proud and noble descendants from the ancient tribe of highlanders from the hills of the Great Rift Valley.

He grew up at an altitude where visiting relatives from the lowlands fainted and had to sit and take a rest from the sky. A village where the rhythm of life was set by the stars and the moon, the sun and the rain, a village where horseless cowboys herded the cattle, and my father and his brothers ran down the strays barefoot.

Like all Kalenjin boys he ran everywhere. He ran to school. He ran home from school. He ran to gather firewood. He ran to the river to fetch water and spilt none running back. He ran but did not race. Running was not a sport. It was a way of life.

 

From “The Dead Don’t Do That Kind of Thing” by Wes Lee

“She was my twin!” Claire shouted.

The word felt terrible in her mouth, something fell away as she said it; halved and fell like a fleshy fruit – an overripe babaco. She tasted the sweet, slightly putrid hit at its core. My twin, she hadn’t wanted to say it, she hadn’t wanted to let it out, she hadn’t wanted it to escape from her body and lose it forever. But Alison had made her say it. As if someone living, breathing in the world could be blind to the simple fact that Deborah had been her twin.

 

From “Dodie’s Gift” by Vanessa Gebbie

There is a little blood on the sand, in a hollow in the dunes. There is semen too, although it is hidden in the shadows where sand and grass have been churned. The blood is clear, scarlet, bright; both its colour and its brightness out of place in the soft grey-green and pale straw colours here. It will fade soon, darken until it’s almost black, and it will be lost when a herring gull chooses this place to bring the head of a newly dead catfish. He will drop it, stand over it, stabbing at it with his yellow hooked beak, parting skin from muscle, lip from cheek, eye from socket, until all that is left is a mess of reddened bone and one thin sliver of catfish skin with a feeler still attached.

 

From “Charles Magezi-Akiiki/Daphne Darling” by Olesya Mishechkina

Across the street from my building, men replace the swamp cooler of an expensive restaurant with air conditioning. They drill. It scares the birds away. The windows framed by the thin walls of my apartment shake. I have to listen to it when I come home from work.

Every

single

fucking

day.

 

From “Atlantic Drift” by Arthur Allan

Dear Ellie,

I want to tell you something that happened out here today. I hope you don’t mind.

One moment it was bright as ever; the next, a massive slate cloud in front of the sun. Migrating birds, flying low. Thousands of them.

The wings pumped in synch, the uniforms of grey plumage passed in their great repeating pattern. The noise terrified me. A clamour of bullying squawks: keep going, don’t pause, this is the way, this is what we do, this is the only direction.

When they had passed, one bird was left behind. It had taken refuge on the deck, exhausted. It wore a stunned, lopsided look as the din of the others faded.

For a while it shuffled gimpishly about. Then it stopped. Only its eyes twitched, aware that it was being watched. And people did glance at it as they passed, with disgust and embarrassment, hoping it would go away so they wouldn’t have to deal with it.

It was gone when I went back above after supper. I suppose someone kicked it overboard.

My love (if I may),

Murray.

 

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Results of the international Willesden Herald short story competition 2013

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

And the winning entry in the 8th international Willesden Herald short story competition 2013, as chosen by David Means is:

“Holidaying with the Megarrys” by Danielle McLaughlin.

Equal runners-up:
“All Its Little Sounds and Silences” by Barnaby Walsh
“Round Fat Moon and Jingling Stars” by Marie Murphy

Thanks to all who entered and to everyone who has supported the competition over the years, especially this year’s judge, David Means.

If you would like a masterclass in short story writing, David Means will be leading WordTheatre Writers’ Workshop & Retreat on July 5-July 12, 2013 in Edale, England.

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.

davidmeans
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.

Links

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.

Continue reading “The story so far”